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What should be disclosed to those with disability insurance?

A person's employer might offer that person a variety of benefits as part of being employed. One of these benefits is disability insurance. While disability insurance can be very useful, some people may not know much about how such a benefit operates. However, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) those who administer disability insurance plans are required to provide policyholders with a written account of the facts about the disability insurance plan, including the rules of how the plan is run, financial details about the plan and what documents are needed in order for the plan to operate.

Perhaps the most important piece of information a disability insurance policyholder should receive per ERISA is the summary plan description (SPD.) This must be given to policyholders at no cost. An SPD contains information on what the disability insurance plan provides and how the disability insurance plan is operated. Under the SPD, the policyholder can learn when he or she can become a participant in the insurance plan, how the insurance plan works and what benefits the insurance plan provides. An SPD will also contain information about filing a claim for benefits under their disability insurance plan. Any modifications to the disability insurance plan must also be given to the policyholder in writing at no cost.

In addition to a SPD, disability insurance policyholders should also, per ERISA rules, be provided with the summary annual report. This should be provided to the disability insurance policyholder each year at no cost. It contains the yearly financial report that has been filed with the Department of Labor.

Those who have disability insurance policies deserve to know how the policies operate. The federal government recognizes this, and through ERISA requires plan administrators to provide policyholders with certain information regarding their disability insurance policy. Those who have not received such information or who believe any of their other rights under ERISA have been violated may want to seek legal help.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Plan Information," Accessed Nov. 26, 2017

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