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Can a plan restrict the time period for presenting benefit claims?


Guest jdw
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The DOL claim regs describe the plan's obligations after the participant has presented a claim. Can the plan limit the time a participant has to present the claim? I see health plans that often have a one-year requirement. I have not seen pension plans do that. I cannot find in the code or regs any authority for doing so. Has anyone had experience with DOL or IRS auditors questioning the period a participant has to present a claim?

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Disability. BTW, the DOL published a FAQ in June 2002 that said the DOL regs did not contain specific rules governing the intial period to make a claim. However, the claim procedure could not "unduly inhibits or hampers the initiation or processing of claims for benefits."

That suggests a plan can impose a time limit; I am looking to see what might be acceptable. 90 days? 1 year? 4 years?

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There is no statute of limitations for filing a claim for benefits under ERISA, e.g., missing participant can return at any time and demand payment. There are ct. decisions that allow a plan to put a time limit on the commencement of a law suit after a claim for benefits has been denied by the PA.

mjb

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