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Are the Appeal Procedures the Same for All Benefits?
Although the basic procedures are the same for all benefits, the applicable time frames for disability-related applications are different than those for other benefits, as explained in the following sections.

How Will I Know If My Application for Benefits is Denied?
If your application for benefits is denied, you will be informed of the denial in writing within 90 days of the date that your application is received by the Pension Fund Office. Within the 90-day period, a notice of the Trustee’s decision will be mailed to you. If an extension of time to make a decision is needed by the Trustees, within the 90-day period a notice will be mailed to you that:
  •       Explains the special circumstances requiring a delay in the decision;
 AND
  •       Sets a date, no later than 180 days after your application was initially received, of when you can expect to receive a decision.
You may assume that your application has been denied and you may appeal the denial if you do not receive any notice from the Trustees within the 90-day period, or if you do not receive a notice of a delayed decision within the 90-day period.
For disability-related applications, a notification about the decision on your application for benefits will be mailed to you within 45 days of the date that your application for benefits is received by the Pension Fund Office. If the Trustees need additional information to make a decision regarding your application, you will be notified in writing of what additional information is needed. You will have at least 45 days to provide the requested additional information. The Trustees’ 45-day deadline for making a decision on your application is suspended while the Trustees are waiting for additional information from you. If you do not provide the requested additional information, your application will be denied within 30 days of your deadline to provide the requested additional information.
The Trustees may determine that an extension of time is necessary to make a decision about your application. The Trustees are allowed two extensions of time for 30 days in each such case. You will be notified of the necessity of the extension of time before the end of the initial 45 day period if the first extension is required and before the end of the additional 30 day period if the second extension is required.
What If My Application for Benefits is Denied?
If your application for benefits is denied in whole or in part, you will receive a written notice that will:

  • Contain the reason or reasons for the decision;
  • Refer to specific Plan provisions on which the decision is based;
  • Notify you of any additional information that is needed to reconsider your application (if applicable);
  • Include a copy of the scientific or clinical judgment for disability-related applications that are denied on the basis of a medical judgment made by the Plan including the identity of the medical expert that made the judgment (if applicable);
  • Notify you of the Plan’s appeal procedures;
  • Notify you of your right to have an attorney or other individual represent you (provided that you authorize the representation in writing and send a copy of the authorization to the Fund Office);
  • Notify you of your (or your representative’s) right to access and copy (free of charge) all documents, records and other information relevant to your application for pension benefits;
  • Notify you of your right to bring a civil action under ERISA if your appeal is denied.
If your application has been denied in whole or in part, you have the right to appeal for a full and fair review of the denial decision. You may appeal a denial decision by submitting an appeal request to the Trustees of the Appeals Committee. Your appeal request should be sent to:
Chicago Regional Council of
Carpenters Pension Fund
Supplemental Retirement Plan
Appeals Committee
12 East Erie Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Attention: Administrator
Your appeal request must be in writing. For non-disability applications your appeal request must be received by the Pension Fund Office within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. For disability-related applications, your appeal request must be received by the Pension Fund Office within 180 days of the date of the denial notice. Your failure to file a written request for appeal within these time frames will be deemed a waiver of your right to appeal.
Your appeal request should include the specific reasons why you believe that the denial was improper. You may submit any additional documents you feel relevant to your appeal, as well as submitting written issues and comments.

What Happens after My Request for Appeal is Received?
You will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of your appeal request.
The Appeals Committee meets approximately every other month. Your appeal will be heard at the next Appeals Committee meeting following the receipt of your appeal request, unless your appeal request is received within 30 days or less immediately preceding the meeting date. If your appeal request is received within 30 days of the next regular meeting, the appeal request will be considered at the second regularly scheduled meeting following receipt of the request.
When your appeal request is received, you will be sent a letter notifying you of the date that the Appeals Committee will hear your appeal. Notice of the Appeals Committee determination will be mailed to you as soon as possible following the Appeals Meeting, but no later than 5 days after the decision is made.
The Trustees’ decision on appeal is binding on all parties to the decision. No legal action may begin until all Plan appeal procedures have been exhausted. Legal action against the Plan may not be commenced more than 12 months after the Trustees notify you of the determination on review.

 
 
 

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