(a) Receive Information About Your Plan and Benefits
(1) Examine, without charge, at the Plan Administrators office and at other specified locations, such as worksites, all documents governing the Plan and a copy of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series), if applicable, filed by the Plan with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration;
(2) Obtain, upon written request to the Plan Administrator, copies of documents governing the operation of the Plan and copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series), if applicable, and an updated (as necessary) Summary Plan Description. The Administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies; and
(3) Receive a summary of the Plans annual financial report, if applicable. The Plan Administrator is required by law to furnish each Eligible Employee with a copy of this summary annual report.
(b) Prudent Actions by Plan Fiduciaries. In addition to creating rights for Plan Eligible Employees, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the employee benefit plan. The people who operate the Plan, called fiduciaries of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Eligible Employees and beneficiaries. No one, including your employer, your union or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from obtaining a Plan benefit or exercising your rights under ERISA.
(c) Enforce Your Rights. If your claim for a Plan benefit is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you have a right to know why this was done, to obtain copies of documents relating to the decision without charge, and to appeal any denial, all within certain time schedules.
Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request a copy of Plan documents or the latest annual report from the Plan, if applicable, and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a Federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Plan Administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the Plan Administrator.
If you have a claim for benefits which is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you may file suit in a state or Federal court.
If you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may file suit in a Federal court. The court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees, for example, if it finds your claim is frivolous.