EBSA launches new help page

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration created a new consumer assistance Web page that provides easy access to information and allows users to submit questions and complaints about health and retirement plans electronically.

The page includes links to tools and publications with information on benefit plans and answers to questions about hot topics. Users also can submit questions, file a complaint or report a problem with their plan. These are submitted directly to EBSA benefits advisors who will respond as soon as possible, but no later than three business days.

The new page also is available in Spanish. EBSA has benefits advisors who are fluent in Spanish and a translation service is available for a variety of other languages. The page can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa and then selecting “Request Assistance” at the top of the page.

"Helping retirement and health plan participants find answers to questions about their benefits and providing assistance when they believe their benefits have been improperly denied is one of our most important responsibilities," said EBSA Assistant Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi. "The new consumer assistance Web page and electronic inquiry/complaint process will provide quick answers to the most frequently asked questions and connect workers to experienced benefits advisers if assistance is needed."

EBSA receives thousands of calls each year on its toll-free consumer assistance line at 866-444-3272. The agency hopes this new Web page and electronic inquiry system will provide more efficient service to individuals seeking assistance. EBSA's benefits advisers assisted more than 230,000 consumers last year and obtained more than $478 million in benefits that had been wrongly denied to 173,000 participants through informal dispute resolution. EBSA also opened 900 formal investigations of retirement and health plans based on referrals from benefits advisors of complaints that could not be resolved informally.

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