Benefits Notes |

Employee benefits are an important part of every employees' total compensation package. The continuously evolving landscape in the areas of health care reform, retirement plan design, and executive compensation makes it difficult for employee benefits professionals to keep up with relevant developments. The employee benefits attorneys at Stinson Leonard Street provide human resources professionals, plan fiduciaries, actuaries, accountants, and others in the industry with practical and cost-effective assistance as they navigate through the complex laws, regulations and guidance that govern employee benefits plans. This blog highlights key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. Our Bloggers →

Latest Benefits Notes Posts

Is Your Severance Policy an ERISA Plan?

By Angela Bohmann | October 2, 2015

Welfare Plans I wrote an Insight article for firm clients on distinguishing an ERISA severance plan from a non-ERISA severance policy. For those of you not on that distribution list, the article is here.


Participants in Top Hat Plans Must Exhaust Administrative Remedies

By Angela Bohmann | September 29, 2015

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation So-called "Top Hat" plans are nonqualified deferred compensation plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees. These executive compensation arrangements are exempt from many ERISA provisions, but are not exempt from ERISA's claims procedure requirements. Therefore, top hat plans must provide...


More Withdrawal Liability for Unsuspecting Business Owners

Multi-employer Plans I recently blogged about a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision that tagged a buyer of the assets of a company contributing to a multiemployer plan with withdrawal liability that the seller had not paid. A recent Ninth Circuit decision reached the same conclusion in a case where an owner shut down its business,...


Don’t Play Hide the Ball with Your Claims Procedure

By Angela Bohmann | September 21, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation ERISA does not have a statute of limitations for lawsuits brought by participants to check claim benefits under the plan. Instead, courts borrow from similar state statutes of limitations. In a decision two years ago, the US Supreme Court upheld a disability plan's one year limitations period, allowing the plan to...


A Summary Plan Description Can be a Plan Document

Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans In a decision issued a couple of years ago, the United States Supreme Court held that a summary plan description that differed from the plan document could not be enforced as the plan document. The Court said that the summary plan description was supposed to describe the plan and it was the plan that should be...


More Ways to be Hit With Withdrawal Liability

By Angela Bohmann | September 9, 2015

Multi-employer Plans I have blogged (here, here, here and here) in the past about situations where employers unexpectedly found themselves liable for withdrawal liability imposed by a multiemployer plan. We can add a recent case from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to that list. Tsareff v. Manweb Services, Inc. involved a...


Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

By Angela Bohmann | July 2, 2015

Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The United States Supreme Court recently held in Obergefell v. Hodges that all states must recognize and allow marriages between same sex partners. Depending on an employer's current employee benefits plan, certain provisions may need to be changed in light of...


Using Your IRA to Buy a Business: Still a Risky Strategy

By Angela Bohmann | June 16, 2015

IRAs I blogged in the past (here and here)about decisions in which taxpayers have used assets in their IRA to finance a new business. This structure is sometimes known as a ROBS or rollover for business startups. In 2013, the tax court held that an IRA engaged in a prohibited transaction, thereby subjecting the value of...


Retiree Medical Plans can Impose Lifetime Limits

By Angela Bohmann | June 9, 2015

Health Care Reform, Health Plan Employers who sponsor medical plans know that those plans can no longer impose lifetime limits on essential health benefits. One exception is for medical plans that cover fewer than two active employees. Retiree medical plans that are separate from the plan for active employees can meet that exception. A recent...


Standard of Review is Important – Again

By Angela Bohmann | June 4, 2015

Welfare Plans I recently blogged about the importance the standard of review can make when a court decides whether a claims decision made under an employer plan will be upheld. My recent blog post dealt with the standard of review under a top-hat plan, a plan for executives. Another recent case makes the same point in a long-term...