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Your Rights as a Plan Participant

Introduction | Plan Highlights | Your Rights As a Plan Participant

As a participant in the Southern States Savings and Retirement 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:

  • Examine, without charge, at the Plan Administratorís office and at other specified locations, such as worksites and union halls, all Plan documents including insurance contracts, collective bargaining agreements and copies of all documents filed by the plan with the U. S. Department of Labor, such as detailed annual reports and Plan descriptions.
  • Obtain copies of all Plan documents and other Plan information to the Plan Administrator. The Administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
  • Receive a summary of the Planís annual financial report. The Plan Administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy of this summary annual report.

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 ďfiduciariesĒ of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Plan participants and beneficiaries.

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

If you claim for a pension benefit is denied in whole or in part, you must receive a written explanation of the reason for the denial. You have the right to have the joint Board of Trustees of Plan review and consider your claim.

Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request materials from the Plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a Federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Plan Administrator to provide the materials and pay up to $100 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the Administrator. If you have a claim for benefits, which is denied or ignored, in whole or part, you may file suit in a state or Federal Court. If it should happen that Plan fiduciaries misuse the Planís money or if you are discriminated against for assenting your rights, you may file suit in Federal Court.

The Court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees, for example, if it finds your claim frivolous.

If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Plan Administrator. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, you should contact the nearest Area Office of the U. S. Labor-Management Services Administration, Department of Labor.