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March 5, 2009

ERISA -Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

Your Guide



Federal  law that defines  standards by which welfare benefit plans and qualified plans  must operate.
For instance, if your employer maintains a qualified  plan, ERISA specifies when you must be allowed to become a participant, how long you have to work before you become vested, how long you can be away from your job before it might affect your benefits, and whether your spouse has a right to part of your pension in the event of your death.
The following are just a few of the provisions of ERISA:
  1. Defines standards for the code of conduct for fiduciaries
  2. Requires that fiduciaries administer and manage their plans prudently and in the interest of the plan’s participants and beneficiaries.
  3. Requires plans to provide participants with information about the plan including important information about plan features and funding.
  4. Gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.
  5. Guarantees payment of certain benefits if a defined plan is terminated, through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
ERISA created IRAs
ERISA sometimes  incorporate areas of the Code & Treasury regulations
Referring Cite
Additional Helpful Information
Related Articles Tutorial or Other Content
  • Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Compliance Assistance Portal – Assists employers and employee benefit plan officials in understanding and complying with the requirements of ERISA as it applies to the administration of employee pension and welfare benefit plans.
  • Employment Law Guide: Employee Benefit Plans – Provides a summary of the requirements for most private sector employee benefit plans under ERISA.

Written By

Denise Appleby

Denise is CEO of Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc., a firm that provides IRA resources for financial/ tax/legal professionals. She has over 20 years of experience in the retirement plans field, which includes training and technical consultation.

Denise writes and publishes educational /marketing tools for advisors; available at Denise co-authored several books on IRAs

Denise is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School, where she obtained a Masters of Jurisprudence in Employee Benefits, and has earned 5 professional retirement designations.
She has appeared on numerous media programs, sharing her insights on retirement tax laws.


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