Your benefit plan is governed by ERISA if it can be reasonably defined as an “employee welfare benefit plan,” which means that the plan is employer-sponsored and provides employee benefits that may include health, disability, retirement or life insurance benefits.
If your employer purchased group disability insurance through an insurer, for example, and you are provided coverage through that plan, then in all likelihood, ERISA governs those benefits.
Two prominent exceptions exist:
- Religious employment (i.e., benefits provided through a church)
- Public employment. If you work for a government agency, for example, your benefits claim will not be subject to ERISA regulation.