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News Release

EBSA Press Release: Dislocated Workers' Pension and Health Care Coverage Addressed in New Labor Department Booklet [05/14/1998]

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

For more information call: (202) 219-8921

The Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) today released a new 32-page guide for dislocated workers highlighting pension protections and continued health benefits available to downsized or laid off workers. The guide, "Pension and Health Care Coverage: Questions and Answers for Dislocated Workers," informs workers of their rights under three federal laws affecting pensions and health benefits.

"Each year thousands of American workers are displaced through layoffs or plant closings," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "Workers and their families need to know there are measures they can take to protect their pensions and extend their health care benefits, in the unfortunate event they lose their job because of a lay-off or plant closing."

The guide, in addition to the training and retraining available through Labor Department programs, addresses specific questions such as "What happens to my pension if I am laid off?" and, more commonly, "What do I do about health care coverage for me and my family?"

Additionally, the guide explains dislocated workers' protections under the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which extends health benefit coverage for a limited time to some workers and their families after job loss; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which offers some measure of protection against discrimination when workers are again employed and join an employer-sponsored health benefit plan; and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which protects the pension assets of millions of workers so that funds placed in retirement plans are safeguarded for workers, and their beneficiaries. Portions of all three laws are enforced by PWBA.

"With this publication, we are reaching out to dislocated workers who may not know their rights about continued health care and their pension benefits," said Olena Berg, assistant secretary for PWBA. "This information can help dislocated workers with the important decisions they have to make if they receive a notice of layoff."

Single free copies of the guide "Pension and Health Care Coverage : Questions and Answers for Dislocated Workers" are available from PWBA's Publication Hotline at 1-800-998-7542. The booklet is also available on the agency's Website at:  

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
May 14, 1998
Release Number