On April 30, 2020, the Department of Labor filed for publication in the Federal Register (publication date May 4, 2020) a Notice entitled
Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak. The document announces the extension of certain timeframes under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code for group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 National Emergency.
Specifically as the Notice pertains to Disability plans it states:
"Subject to the statutory duration limitation in ERISA section 518 and Code section 7508A, all group health plans, disability and other employee welfare benefit plans, and employee pension benefit plans subject to ERISA or the Code
must disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until sixty (60) days after the announced end of the National Emergency or such other date announced by the Agencies in a future notification (the “Outbreak Period”) for all plan participants, beneficiaries, qualified beneficiaries, or claimants wherever located in determining the following periods and dates."
(5) The date within which individuals may file a benefit claim under the plan’s claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503–1,
(6) The date within which claimants may file an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan’s claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503–1(h)
The Notice essentially provides a tolling of the time periods for filing a claim and for filing an appeal after an adverse benefit determination. Rejecting a claim or an appeal as untimely filed without taking this tolling period into consideration will be considered a violation of the Claim Regulations pertaining to ERISA covered plans. A link to the Notice is provided