Understanding Employee Benefits

IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans

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The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2016 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts, which are largely unchanged from the 2015 numbers. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/IR-15-118.pdf.  The following chart summarizes the 2016 retirement plan limits and other benefit plan limits. ... Read More

Topics: Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans

Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

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The United States Supreme Court recently held in Obergefell v. Hodges http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf 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 this ruling. For those employers who already provide... Read More

Topics: Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans

Ameriprise Avoids Trial On Class Action Suit By Current and Former Employees With $27.5 Million Payment

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In 2011, a group of current and former employees filed a class action lawsuit in the District Court of Minnesota claiming that Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and members of its 401(k) Plan fiduciary committee had breached their fiduciary duty to the Plan participants and engaged in self-dealing. The specific actions generating... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

DOL Gives Retirement Plan Sponsors of Participant Directed Retirement Plans Additional Time to Provide Employee Fee Disclosures

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U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require 401(k) plan fiduciaries to provide plan participants with a detailed disclosure statement about the plan’s designated investment alternatives, prior to initial enrollment and at least annually thereafter. The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has interpreted the “annual disclosure requirement” to mean that... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

Plan Administrators Have Discretion to Round

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Cash balance plans often provide a pay credit and an interest credit in determining a participant’s accrued benefit. The pay credit is often a percentage of compensation. The interest credit is established in the plan and can be a fixed rate or a formula. Recently the Duke Energy Retirement Cash... Read More

Topics: Retirement Plans

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND AICPA COMMENT ON DEFICIENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN AUDITS

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At a recent American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (”AICPA”) conference, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration reportedly commented that the ERISA benefit plan audits are deficient in over 1/3 of the audits they receive according to their recent survey of filings. In... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Form 5500s, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans