Update: On November 24, 2017, the Department of Labor filed a final rule to delay the applicability date of new disability claims procedures regulation by 90 days, through April 1, 2018.
Plan sponsors are typically forced to wait for last minute guidance to satisfy year-end compliance obligations. As a result, those of us who work with these plans spend the last days of the year frantically ensuring plans are in compliance mode while friends and family ring in the new year with frivolity and festivities. While we can’t guarantee that won’t happen again this year, if it happens to you because you are evaluating the impact of the new disability claim procedures on plans, then shame on you. As discussed below, the information necessary to comply with the new rules is already available. So address these obligations now – then dig out your little-black-dress or tux, and join the year-end frivolity!
The final rule modifying the disability claims procedures, issued late last year, became effective January 18, 2017, and applies to claims for disability benefits which are filed on or after January 1, 2018. Plan sponsors should identify their claims procedures, plan documents and SPDs that may need to be updated to reflect the new rule. To assist in that endeavor, the key changes implemented by the new rule are summarized below.
- New Independence and Impartiality Provisions. These new provisions are intended to reduce the possibility of unfair claims review. The change requires that “decisions regarding hiring, compensation,