March 12, 2018

Final Rule on Disability Claims Applies to Claims Filed After April 1, 2018; No Further Delay

The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) final rule revising the claims and appeals procedures for disability benefits in plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act will be applicable for disability claims filed after April 1, 2018. There will be no further delays of the applicability date. 

The final rule was issued on December 19, 2016. It was effective January 18, 2017, and originally applicable to disability claims filed on or after January 1, 2018. The revisions in the final rule were intended to strengthen the disability claims procedures and to provide disability claimants with protections that paralleled protections introduced by the Affordable Care Act for claimants covered by group health plans.

In Executive Order (EO) 13777, signed on February 24, 2017, President Donald Trump instructed federal agencies to review regulations for costs and benefits. In accordance with those instructions, the DOL reviewed the final rule, and through the required regulatory process, issued a new final rule (final delay rule) delaying the applicability date for 90 days, through April 1, 2018. In the final delay rule, the DOL also asked for comments and supporting data related to the burden imposed by the final rule and whether the applicability of the final rule should be further delayed.

There was considerable speculation about whether there would be a further delay of the applicability date, particularly given that many of the new provisions paralleled Affordable Care Act requirements. However, on January 5, 2018, the DOL announced that, because the information provided in the requested comments did not establish that the final rule created unnecessary regulatory burdens, there would be no further delay.

For more information about the final rule, see Sibson’s June 6, 2017 Update, “Final Rule Regarding Disability Claims and Appeals.”

For information on the delay, see Sibson’s October 12, 2017 Hot Topic, “DOL Proposes Delaying January 2018 Applicability Date of Disability Claims Regulation.”

The final delay rule was issued on November 29, 2017.

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