The cover story of Time magazine's 10/31/05 issue is entitled "The Broken Promise
." Unfortunately the entire article is available only to subscribers. It tells several stories of hard working folks who contributed much during their careers to build up meaningful pensions only to find themselves or their loved ones with next to nothing after they quit working. Much of the problem lies with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), the federal statute designed to protect the employment benefits of U.S. workers from being lost due to the unscrupulous actions of their employers, unions and other managers of those benefit funds. However, there is a gap between the statute's stated ideals and reality. Time focuses on ERISA's impotency in the context of pension benefits while the focus of my practice is more on the "welfare benefits" side of the statute: medical, life, disability and other insurance benefits. But it's often the same story in either context.
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