Is Your Retirement Plan Subject to the New DOL Disability Claims Regulations?
In December 2016, the Department of Labor issued final rules revising the claims procedures for ERISA plans that make disability determinations affecting plan benefits. The new disability claims procedures become effective for disability claims filed on or after January 1, 2018. Many retirement plans have eligibility, service credit and other provisions that relate to or are affected by disability determinations. If the retirement plan states that an individual will be deemed disabled only if he has received a disability determination under a separate long term disability plan and/or the Social Security Administration then the plan is not making its own disability determinations, meaning the new regulations do not apply. However, if a plan does make its own disability determinations or defers to the determination a physician the plan hires then the new regulations likely apply. Consult your fund counsel to ensure your plan is in compliance.