EBSA Benefits Advisors: Here to Help

by Phyllis Borzi on April 4, 2012 · 8 comments

Managing retirement savings and getting the most out of your health plan can be challenging.  When something goes wrong, or you suspect an employer or financial advisor is not properly managing your benefits, it can be tricky to come up with a solution.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration is here to help.  Our staff of more than 120 Benefits Advisors can answer your questions and, what’s more, help you recover lost savings or benefits when things go wrong.  Based in cities across the nation, Benefits Advisors have the connections and training that gives them an advantage when it comes to tracking down the people and information needed to get to the bottom of a customer inquiry.

Employee Benefits Security Administration Benefits Advisors

These dedicated staff members do more than just take your questions, they find solutions to serious benefits problems, and get results for workers and their families in need of assistance.  In some cases this can mean the difference between getting life-saving medical treatment paid for by an insurance company, or a worker being left to pay for expensive medical bills. When an insurance company refused to pay claims for a bone marrow transplant recipient, an advisor stepped in and took action leading to the recovery of more than $363,000 for the individual. 

Other times it means a worker or retiree gaining access to retirement savings that a company, for whatever reason, is holding back.  When a worker was getting the runaround about what happened to his retirement savings, a Benefits Advisor was able to take action that led to the recovery of more than $75,000.  Last year alone, the Benefits Advisors obtained more than $478 million for workers who had been unjustly denied benefits.

If you are a worker, spouse or family member who has questions about benefits, there are multiple ways to contact our Benefits Advisors.  You can visit our participant assistance website at www.askebsa.dol.gov.  Call us at 1-866-444-EBSA (3272).  Or visit one of the 13 Benefits Advisor offices across the nation. 

Managing retirement and healthcare benefits is a challenge for everyone.  And sometimes those we trust to safeguard retirement savings or healthcare benefits don’t live up to their end of the bargain.  When this happens, you do not have to go it alone.  EBSA’s Benefits Advisors are here to help.

Phyllis Borzi is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gregg Stoerrle April 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I know i would like to retire MsBorzi but then again i would just like to have been protected under OSHA 11(c).
Now Ms Borzi is EBSA a better department at DOL then OSHA 11(c) for protecting workers rights?
It states in your story above that if you suspect your employer is not properly managing your benifits it can be tricky to come up with a solution,does that mean you might lose there benifits if they speak up?
Because if EBSA is anything like OSHA 11(c) there in trouble of losing everything no doubt about it!

You might want to let the worker know first O.K
Thank you

2 MIchael Wittke April 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I think it is quite humorous that I received this email. As part of my supposed employee “benefit” package, in the misfortunate instance where I was to become disabled and unable to work, I was to receive 13 weeks of salary continuation at 100% and an additional 13 weeks at 66 and 2/3% of my salary. Unfortunately, an accident occurred leaving me unable to perform the essential functions of the position I was hired. Not only did the company back-date the effective coverage including 10 weeks I had already worked, they essentially cheating me out of an initial 10 weeks disability payments. Then to add insult to injury, I received only 11 weeks at the 100% level and only 11 additional weeks at the 66 and 2/3% level. When I brought to the attention of the administrator, I was informed “they” (the company) were acting within the guidelines of the “plan”. When I brought this situation up to Hartford (the supposed 3rd party administrator), they replied that they (Hartford) only advised the company of eligibility. When I informed the Texas Insurance Department, they advised me that it is a “company sponsored plan” and that they could do nothing. Contractual Litigation is out of the question, as most would require a retainer far in excess of the amount I would receive. So I must ask self… what good is any of this?

3 karan vanbaarsen April 5, 2012 at 8:36 am

I have paid into social security all my life. Now they’re threatening to abolish it or use the funds for other purposes in stead of paying ss benefits to recipients who paid into it. Please help.

4 G. Russell April 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

If a company does not fund the retirement plan as required, what can an employee do?

5 Back to the Constitution April 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

This service is nothing more than an institution dedicated to invading contracts. Each of us–and who else is sick and tired of these communists referring to us as “workers”?–contracts with an insurer(s), which creates a legal relationship between the two parties. EBSA is NOT a party to any healthcare contract, so they have absolutely no legitimate authority to compel either party to the contract perform. That is the role of COURTS!! If you, as the insured under a healthcare policy, have a dispute with the insurance company, file a lawsuit. Good grief, people!

6 Back to the Constitution April 12, 2012 at 10:00 am

Print on paper does absolutely nothing to prevent tragedies. They happen despite the best of intentions. However, what is truly tragic, are the perceptions: 1) that regulation is law–it is not, because it is not created by the legislative process; 2) that regulation actually does anything for the person or group of persons described as beneficiaries of regulation. In actual fact, ALL regulation does is create an excuse for an (unconstitutional) administrative agency to fine a business for something deemed a violation. That’s the big con, folks. If, for instance, a miner is injured, or a person suffers injury while working and a bully organization like OSHA or MSHA steps in, the only thing that the agency does is collect money from the employer. That’s it. The person and his/her family is still responsible for pursuing damages in court. In otherwords, agencies create rules simply to be able to get what essentially are damages to perpetuate themselves without having to prevail in a negligence action against the employer in court. That’s ridiculous.
It really is time for people, and particularly for business owners, to band together and adopt the mantra, “I will not comply”. Administrators cannot wield lawmaking authority AT ALL, according to either the U.S. Consitution or the constitutions of the states. Legislative authority is vested only in legislatures. OSHA possesses no legitimate authority to compel anyone to do anything.
The only reason that businesses have bowed to regulator-bullies during the past 100 years is the existence of a system built piece-by-piece (principally by allowing Supreme Court justices to amend the Constitution by substituting interpretations for the words in the Constitution), in which We the People no longer earn money of real, intrinsic value as payment for our exertions. Instead, we earn dollars, which now exist primarily in binary form. We’re even contemplating a transformation into a cashless society, which is the final step to complete the separation of individuals from control of their financial destinies, and subjecting our finances to supervisory oversight and social engineering. Therefore, although it is extremely uncomfortable to even contemplate, we all MUST transform our earnings into things of real value and possess them. We need to take steps to be able to disengage from state-administered utilities and to grow food for our families. We must exercise our Natural Right to keep and bear arms (the Bill of Rights is a list of promises that no authority of government–legislative (Congress), executive (President), or Judicial (the Courts)–may ever be used to infringe upon or interfere with ANY natural right). We must form agreements with friends and neighbors, expand those agreements to other neighborhoods, and to our coworkers and employers, etc. to resist and oppose regulator activity. Finally, we must reconnect with the thinking of the Founding Fathers. Freedom is worth the loss of all worldly possessions.
No agency rule ever is submitted to or passed by Congress or a state legislature and therefore possesses NO authority. Only an act passed by a legislature and enacted by the signature of the President or a governor is law. I WILL NOT COMPLY.

7 Alan Lischin July 28, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I received a notice from the SSA informing me of Potential Private Retirement Benefit. It advises me to contact my “plan administrator”. But the plan administrator is my former employer who has long since gone out of business and no longer exists. These benefits must (by law) have been placed into a trust account somewhere. How can I find out where?
Thanks for your help!
Alan

8 Genevieve December 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm

My employer is a law firm that is closing its doors after 90 years of service.
All the employees are being offered severance package of 120 days of salary and payment of any unused sick leave.

My employer was acquired by another law firm .
We are being asked to elect Cobra benefits paid by the employer for a period of 120 starting 1/1/14 OR under an honor system if we are hired by another firm who offers a health plan sooner than the 120 days to ask to me removed from the Cobra plan early.

The separation agreement has two paragraphs , One that defines what the severance package is and the other about the Cobra benefit period.

My question is: How do I make a legal argument that the severance period is defined as 120 per the contract and elect to remain on the Cobra plan at my former employer’s offer of 120 without voluntarily surrendering my Cobra / severance benefit period?

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