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Employee Benefits

The Benefits Team at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn has been assisting clients with their benefit plans for over 50 years. Some of the members of our team have been practicing benefits law at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn since the passage of ERISA. We have one of the largest groups of benefits attorneys in Oregon. Our core team members are not generalists with some experience in many different areas of the law; we practice employee benefits law exclusively.

We work with corporate, tax-exempt, and government employers on all types of deferred compensation and health and welfare plans. The Benefits Team's expertise in deferred compensation plans includes the following plans: profit sharing, 401(k), money purchase pension, traditional defined benefit, cash balance, 403(b), 457(b), nonqualified, and 457(f). Our experience with health and welfare plans includes the following plans: cafeteria, health flexible spending arrangements, DCAPs, HSAs, severance, medical, dental, vision, prescription drug, life insurance, disability, EAPs, educational assistance, VEBAs, and wraparound. We work with single employer, multiemployer, and multiple employer plans.

We represent plans before the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. We prepare plan documents, trust agreements, SPDs, SMMs, benefit forms, notices to participants, determination letter applications, Form 5500s, and excise tax filings. We advise plan sponsors with respect to plan design, plan administration, benefit claims, reporting and disclosure compliance, qualification requirements, nondiscrimination testing, fiduciary duties, investment matters, service-provider contracts, IRS and DOL audits, correction of compliance problems, and restructuring benefit plans in business transactions. 

Representative Experience

The Benefits Team prepares individually-designed plan documents and SPDs for all types of deferred compensation and health and welfare plans. We prepare profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans, money purchase pension plans, traditional defined benefit plans, cash balance plans, 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, nonqualified plans, cafeteria plans, health flexible spending arrangements, DCAPs, HSAs, severance plans, EAPs, educational assistance plans, trust agreements, medical reimbursement plans, and wrap-around plans. We prepare defined contribution plans with varying features, including safe-harbor 401(k) plans, automatic enrollment, and Roth contributions. We prepare all types of employer contribution formulas, including integration with Social Security, new comparability, and age- and service-weighted formulas. We monitor law changes and keep the plan documents up-to-date. We prepare all types of notices to participants, including 204(h) notices, QDIA notices, safe harbor notices, automatic enrollment notices, benefit forms, COBRA notices, certificates of creditable coverage, Medicare Part D notices, and privacy notices.
The Benefits Team regularly assists plan sponsors to ensure that their plans remain qualified under Code Sections 401(a), 403(b), or 457(b). We advise with respect to all qualification requirements, including issues involving eligibility, vesting, contributions, benefit accruals, limits on contributions and benefits, distributions, participant loans, design-based safe harbors, and nondiscrimination testing. We help plan sponsors comply with ERISA, including advising plan fiduciaries regarding their fiduciary duties under ERISA, assisting plan administrators with ERISA's reporting and disclosure requirements, advising regarding the prohibited transaction rules, and ensuring fiduciary protection for participant-directed investments.
The Benefits Team counsels plan sponsors regarding compliance with the new health care reform laws. We have counseled clients regarding the tax exclusion and required coverage of adult children, the grandfathered plan rules, the rules for collectively bargained plans and excepted benefits, the restrictions on lifetime and annual limits, preexisting condition exclusions, and rescissions, the required notices to participants, the mandates for new plans, the changes applicable to health fsas, and the new claims review process. We have helped plan sponsors prepare the application for the early retiree reinsurance program.
The Benefits Team has assisted several plan sponsors in connection with IRS and DOL audits of their plans. These audits involved issues of improper plan loans to participants, incorrect valuation of plan assets, breaches of fiduciary duty, and qualification defects. We prepare clients for the audit and assist in resolving any identified issues. As a result of our representation, plan sponsors have been able to avoid plan disqualification and civil penalties under ERISA.
The Benefits Team has helped plan sponsors with the correction of qualification failures in their qualified plans under EPCRS, through either self-correction or VCP filings. These failures included incorrect or untimely contributions, improper distributions, participation errors, testing failures, vesting failures, improper participant loans, and failures to amend. These corrections enabled the plans to maintain their qualified status.