EBSA Creates New Consumer Assistance Web Page

November 10, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration  (EBSA) has created a new consumer assistance Web page that provides access to useful information, and allows users to submit questions and complaints about health and retirement plans electronically.

The page includes links to various tools and publications with information on benefit plans, as well as answers to questions about “hot topics.” Users also have the option to submit a question, file a complaint, or report a problem with their plan. Inquiries and complaints submitted are sent directly to EBSA benefits advisers, who will respond as soon as possible, but no later than three business days. Additionally, the system automatically routes the requests to the appropriate EBSA regional office based on users’ ZIP codes.

The new Web page is also available in Spanish. EBSA has a number of benefits advisers who are fluent in Spanish and a translation service is available for a variety of other languages. The page can be found by going to http://www.dol.gov/ebsa and then selecting “Request Assistance” or “Solicitud de Asistencia” at the top of the page.

A press release said EBSA receives thousands of calls each year on its toll-free consumer assistance line at 866-444-3272. The agency hopes this new Web page and electronic inquiry system will provide more efficient service to individuals seeking assistance.

“Helping retirement and health plan participants find answers to questions about their benefits and providing assistance when they believe their benefits have been improperly denied is one of our most important responsibilities,” said EBSA Assistant Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi, in the announcement. “The new consumer assistance Web page and electronic inquiry/complaint process will provide quick answers to the most frequently asked questions and connect workers to experienced benefits advisers if assistance is needed.”