New DOL Disability Claims Regulations: Effects on Employee Benefits and Nonqualified Compensation Plans

Best Practices for Plan Sponsors, SPD Modifications, Required Disclosures, Appeals and ERISA Compliance

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide counsel and benefits advisers with a comprehensive understanding of the DOL final rule regarding disability claims regulations and new procedures which are effective Apr. 1, 2018. The panel will discuss the impact of the final rule on employee benefits and nonqualified compensation plans and provide best practices for plan sponsors to avoid compliance pitfalls.


On Jan. 5, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that Apr. 1, 2018 is the applicability date for plans to comply with a final rule under §503 of ERISA aimed at providing employees new procedural protections when dealing with plan fiduciaries and insurance providers who deny their claims for disability benefits.

The final rule added disability benefit claims regulations to include most of the procedural protections afforded to group health plan claims under the Affordable Care Act. The rule applies to pension or 401(k) plans if a plan fiduciary has discretionary authority to determine whether a participant is disabled under the plan terms. Plans must offer effective disability claims procedures, provide more information in denial letters, adhere to disclosure requirements, ensure an impartial process, and more.

Nonqualified plans are still subject to the ERISA enforcement provisions and must contain claims procedures that comply with the regulations if the claim requires a determination of whether the participant has a disability. Counsel and benefits advisers must understand the implications of the new disability claims regulations and be proactive in reviewing plan documents and procedures to ensure compliance.

Listen as our panel provides guidance on required procedures, disclosures and other necessary items of compliance and the best practices in handling disability claims.



  1. Modifications to §503 of ERISA affecting disability benefit claims and appeals process
  2. The impact on health and welfare plans providing disability benefits
  3. Considerations for pension plans providing early or reduced benefits in the event of disability
  4. Applicability of new rule to non-qualified compensation plans
  5. Best practices for plan sponsors to avoid compliance pitfalls


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Identifying areas of concern based on the requirements of the final rule
  • Determining the applicability of new requirements to current benefit plans
  • Conducting internal review of claims and appeals processes, plan language, and notices
  • Implementing necessary modifications and plan amendments to maintain compliance
  • Establishing disability claims procedures in compliance with ERISA Section 503


Beinecke, Christopher
Christopher A. Beinecke

Haynes and Boone

Mr. Beinecke focuses on the areas of compliance and administrative best practices for health and welfare benefit...  |  Read More

Moran, Patricia
Patricia A. Moran

Of Counsel
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo

Ms. Moran is an experienced employee benefits attorney who advises clients on a broad variety of employee benefit plan...  |  Read More

Varney, Peter
Peter M. Varney

Seyfarth Shaw

Mr. Varney is counsel in the firm's Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation practice area and advises plan...  |  Read More

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