Legal Memorandum: Duty to Provide Information under ERISA

Issue: What duty is owed to an employee with regard to information about retirement benefits.

Area of Law: Employee Law
Keywords: Retirement benefits; Duty to provide information
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. (ERISA) § 105, 29 U.S.C. §1025; § 1024(b); 29 U.S.C. §§ 1024(b)(3), 1025(a), 1025 (c); 29 U.S.C. § 1021, § 1022(a), § 1022 (b); § 1024(b)(1)(B), § 1021, § 1024(b)(3); U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(4), 1025(c), 6057(a)(2); 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(2); 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(4); § 1132(c)(1)
Date: 10/01/2007

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. (ERISA) § 105, 29 U.S.C. §1025, requires the plan administrator to provide every participant who so requests, at least annually, the “latest available information” about his “total benefits accrued” and his accrued “nonforfeitable pension benefits,” as well as an individual annual statement of that information regardless of whether it has been requested.

ERISA sets forth various additional duties regarding the provision of information to plan participants and beneficiaries.  Section 1021 provides that the administrator of each employee benefit plan must, in accordance with § 1024(b), furnish to each participant (1) a summary plan description and (2) the information described in §§ 1024(b)(3) and 1025(a) and (c).  29 U.S.C. § 1021.  The summary plan description must be written in a manner understandable by the average plan participant, it must be sufficiently accurate and comprehensive to reasonably apprise the participants and beneficiaries of their rights under the plan, and it must include:

(1) the name and type of administration of the plan;

(2) the name and address of the person designated as the plan’s agent for service of process, if that person is not the administrator;

(3) the name and address of the administrator;

(4) the names, titles, and addresses of any trustee(s), if they are not the administrator;

(5) a description of the relevant provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement;

(6) the plan’s requirements for eligibility, participation, and benefits;

(7) a description of […]

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