ERISA provides for several types of penalties for non-compliance. The specific penalties that may be imposed for non-compliance with dependent verification requirements will depend on the nature of the violation and the circumstances surrounding it. Some of the penalties that may be imposed under ERISA include:
• Civil penalties: Employers or plan administrators that violate ERISA’s provisions may be subject to civil penalties. The maximum penalty for each violation is currently $124,688 per day.
• Fines for failing to file reports or provide information: ERISA requires plan administrators to file certain reports and provide certain information to the Department of Labor (DOL) and plan participants and beneficiaries. Failure to file these reports or provide this information can result in fines of up to $1,100 per day.
• Disgorgement of ill-gotten gains: In cases where an employer or plan administrator has gained money or other assets as a result of a violation of ERISA, the court may require that these assets be returned to the plan or to plan participants and beneficiaries.
• Restitution: A court may also order that an employer or plan administrator make restitution to plan participants and beneficiaries for any losses they have suffered as a result of a violation of ERISA.
• Injunctions: A court may issue an injunction ordering an employer or plan administrator to take specific actions to come into compliance with ERISA.
• Criminal Penalties: In some cases, ERISA violations may be considered criminal offenses and can lead to criminal fines and imprisonment.
It’s important to note that, depending on the severity of the violation, the DOL may take enforcement action on its own or may refer the case to the Department of Justice for prosecution.
In summary, companies that are found to be non-compliant with ERISA and dependent verification requirements can face a range of penalties, including civil penalties, fines, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, restitution, injunctions and even criminal fines and imprisonment. It’s important for companies to understand their compliance obligations under ERISA and to have procedures in place to ensure that they are meeting these obligations.