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Statement On Your 401k ERISA Rights

If you are a participant in a 401k plan (Plan), you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all Plan Participants shall be entitled to:

  1. Examine, without charge, at the Plan Administrator's office all Plan documents, including insurance contracts, and copies of all documents filed by the Plan with the U.S. Department of Labor, such as detailed annual reports and Plan descriptions.
  2. Obtain copies of all Plan documents and other Plan information upon written request to the Plan Administrator. The Administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
  3. Receive a summary of the Plan's annual financial report. The Plan Administrator is required by law to furnish each Participant with a copy of this Summary Annual Report.
  4. Obtain a statement telling you whether you have a right to receive a plan benefit and, if so, what your benefits would be if you stop working under the Plan now. If you do not have a right to a plan benefit, the statement will tell you how many more years you have to work to get a right to a plan benefit. This statement must be requested in writing and is not required to be given more than once a year. The Plan must provide the statement free of charge.

No one, including your employer, or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from exercising your rights under ERISA.

In addition to creating rights for Plan Participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the employee benefit plan. The people who operate your Plan, called "fiduciaries" of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Plan Participants and beneficiaries.

If it should happen that plan fiduciaries misuse the plan's money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may file suit in a federal court.

If you have any questions about your rights under ERISA, you should contact the nearest area office of the U.S. Department of Labor.

For more information, read: What To Do When The Rules Have Been Broken.

This is for educational purposes only. The information provided here is intended to help you understand the general issue and does not constitute any tax, investment or legal advice. Consult your financial, tax or legal advisor regarding your own unique situation and your company's benefits representative for rules specific to your plan.


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