Suggestions for the DOL, the Treasury, ERISA Plan Sponsors, Plan Administrators, and Representatives of Plan Participants or Potential Beneficiaries after Kennedy v. Plan Administrator of DuPont Savings and Investment Plan
13 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2009 Last revised: 8 Oct 2009
Date Written: September 25, 2009
In Kennedy v. DuPont Savings and Investment Plan (the "DuPont Plan"), 2009 U.S. LEXIS 869 (January 26, 2009) the Supreme Court appeared to proclaim a "bright-line rule" that plan documents determine ERISA plan distributions. However, the Court blurred the bright-line rules applicable to (1) benefit entitlements, (2) the alienation of pension benefits, (3) plan benefit distributions, and (4) qualified domestic relations orders. The basis for much of this blurring would vanish if the U. S. Department of Labor ("the DOL"), and the U. S. Treasury ("the Treasury") affirmed their pre-Kennedy approach to many of these issues. Employee benefit practices may be improved if the DOL, the Treasury, plan sponsors, plan administrators, and representatives of plan participants and potential plan beneficiaries follow the suggestions set forth.
Keywords: ERISA, survivor, claim, marital, Supreme Court, QDRO, divorce, retirement benefits, benefit designations, life insurance, pension, employee benefit
JEL Classification: J32, K31, K32, K34, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation