TN 1 (07-04)

RM 03270.005 Handling ERISA Inquiries From the General Public

A. INTRODUCTION

Field offices (FO) and the 800 Number agents may receive ERISA inquiries from the general public in connection with:

  • Requests for a Social Security Statement or benefit estimate.

  • Pre-retirement seminars involving SSA participation.

  • Public information activities of FO personnel.

The public can request ERISA information for any number of reasons and many inquiries are based on the notice generated by SSA. Also, there may be inquiries as a result of the SSA Notice SSA-L99-C1.

B. PROCEDURE

1. Request For SSA's Record of Individual's Vested Pension Benefit

  1. If the inquirer is the subject of the record and makes a request in person, have him/her complete a written request that includes:

    • His/Her SSN, name, date of birth, parents' names, and signature;

    • Name of pension plan and year the NH terminated employment covered by the plan;

    • The Privacy Act penalty statement: “I certify that I am the person to whom the record pertains, or that person's parent (if a minor) or legal guardian, or a person who is authorized to sign on behalf of that individual. I know that the knowing and willful request or acquisition of records under false pretences is a criminal offense subject to a fine of up to $5,000”;

    • Name and address of person who is to be sent the information; and

    • Have the individual provide evidence of identity such as a driver's license.

  2. Verify the accuracy of the individual's SSN by examining his/her Social Security card or by checking the NUMIDENT.

  3. Forward only the written request to:

    OCO
    Office of Earnings Operation
    Attention: ERISA Correspondence Group
    P.O. Box 33007
    Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3007

    NOTE: Since FO personnel do not maintain a file, do not photocopy the evidence of identity. Also, do not send the individual's identity document with the written request.

  4. If the individual is the subject of the record and makes the request by telephone:

    • Identify the individual using the mandatory identifying data elements (name, SSN, address, date of birth, place of birth, and one other element from the record);

    • Have the individual complete a written request as detailed in “a” above; and

    • Direct the individual to send the written request to the address noted above.

  5. If the inquirer is a third party and makes the request in person or by telephone, he/she must provide written consent from the individual who is the subject of the record before the requested information can be disclosed.

    • SSA Form 3288 can be provided to the third party and should be completed by the individual who is the subject of the record.

    • Inform the third party that the written consent should be mailed to the address noted above.

2. Other Inquiries

Refer inquiries as follows:

TYPE OF INQUIRY

REFER INQUIRER TO

Request for Information About the ERISA Laws

Department of Labor (DOL)
Employee Benefits Security Administration
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20216

Contact DOL on the internet at http://www.DOL.gov/EBSA or call them at 1-866-444-3272 (or TTY 1-877-889-5627) for the deaf or hard of hearing.

NOTE: Currently, DOL has several public information publications that may be requested. See http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/consumer_info_pension.html for more information.

Request to See Copy of Pension Plan Description, Annual Reports, or Other Documents

The plan administrator or, if appropriate, to the local district or regional office of the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration. See http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/aboutebsa/org_chart.html#section13 for a listing of these offices.

NOTE: DOL district and regional offices maintain copies of pension plan documents on file for public inspectio