Basic (01-11)

RM 03258.007 Responding to ERISA Correspondence (4406)

A. Language used to respond to ERISA correspondence

Use the language found in The Guide Paragraph and Model Letter Book in responding to the majority of ERISA correspondence received to address specific issues listed below. Division of Earnings and Business Services staff can access templates of the Model Letters and SSA-L99-C1 on their computer local Shared Drive, as well.

B. Individual has received a form SSA-L99-C1

1. Questions receipt of the SSA-L99-C1 (sent as result of an SSA claim)

  • Explain that SSA is required by law (ERISA) to furnish the information when a claim is filed for social security benefits.

  • Direct the individual to the Plan Administrator for any questions about the plan or information we provide on the SSA-L99-C1.

2. Questions receipt of vested pension information (sent as result of an SSA claim)

  • Reply according to RM 03258.007B.1. in this section.

  • Inform the individual that, as a beneficiary, he or she may be eligible for benefits which may have been due the plan participant.

3. Requests benefits payments (ERISA) from SSA

  • Explain that SSA has no jurisdiction over monies to which an individual may be entitled from a private pension plan.

  • Emphasize that the SSA-L99-C1 is only for the purpose of notification of possible deferred vested benefits.

  • Direct the individual to the Plan Administrator.

4. Questions benefit policies of a specific pension plan

  • Explain that SSA has no jurisdiction over benefit policies of a specific pension plan.

  • Continue response according to RM 03258.007B.3. in this section.

5. Questions the itemized vested benefits (Type of Annuity, etc.) information furnished

  • Inform individual that the information shown on the SSA-L99-C1 was furnished by the Plan Administrator; also explain that amounts and methods of payment may differ because of changes in the plan or options available to the plan participants.

  • Direct the individual to the plan administrator for information/explanation about the benefit shown on SSA-L99-C1.

6. Individual states that he or she never worked under the pension plan shown on the form SSA-L99-C1

  • Search film or the Automated Image Retrieval System (AIRS) for correct information.

  • Use ML 901.

  • Prepare note of apology.

C. Individual has received pension notice stating that SSA has no pension recorded for him or her

1. Individual disagrees with the notice and furnishes an employment termination date

Explain that SSA has no additional pension information and suggest that the individual contact the employer/plan in question.

2. Individual disagrees with the notice but does not furnish an employment termination date.

Explain that SSA has no additional pension information and suggest that the individual contact the employer/plan in question.

D. Individual requests information about SSA’s role or responsibilities under ERISA

Furnish the following paragraph:

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires the Secretary of Health, and Human Services to maintain files of individuals having deferred vested benefit rights within a private pension plan, and to furnish this information to these individuals (and dependents or survivors) upon request or automatically when they apply for social security benefits. This responsibility has been delegated to the Social Security Administration.”


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0103258007
RM 03258.007 - Responding to ERISA Correspondence (4406) - 11/14/2017
Batch run: 11/14/2017
Rev:11/14/2017