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Severance and Texas unemployment benefits: Can I take both? Fort Worth unpaid wages lawyer explains

Dallas and Fort Worth employees often question the relationship between severance pay and unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission. Workers often think if they accept severance pay they are automatically ineligible for unemployment benefits in Texas. That is incorrect. The terms of the severance agreement determine whether you can receive severance and unemployment pay in Texas. When in doubt, talk to Dallas or Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich about your situation. Basic rules for Texas Workforce Commission unemployment benefits and severance pay Unemployment benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission are available to Dallas and Fort Worth employees who lost their job...

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Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension Funding Crisis Explained by Dallas Employment Attorney Adam Kielich–Part 2

In Part 1 we discussed an extremely basic foundation of pension funding. Specifically, why pension plans are not fully funded and why they run into problems with their investments. Let's take those basics and apply them to the funding problems of the Dallas Police and Firefighters pension. The foundation of the Dallas, Texas pension funding crisis To really understand the problem with the Dallas pension you have to understand the function of the pension. Most people consider pensions as an employment benefit gratuitously offered by the employer because the employer cares about the employee's well-being. As an employment lawyer I know the...

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Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension Funding Crisis Explained by Dallas Employment Attorney Adam Kielich–Part 1

Dallas residents may have discovered over the past several months a financial crisis in their city related to the Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension. Few people really understand pension funding and how pension funding created this billion dollar shortfall for the city. The local news media in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas has done a fairly good job of discussing current activities to try to resolve the financial crisis; but they have generally done a poor job explaining how pension funding caused this crisis. As a Dallas employment attorney with experience working with large pension plans I can delve into the mysterious...

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Just been fired? Apply for unemployment benefits in Texas

If you are fired (aka discharged, terminated) from your job then one of your first acts in almost all cases should be to apply for unemployment benefits. Applying for unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission is free so even if denied benefits you have only lost the time applying. This is true even if your employer believes it had a legitimate reason to fire you. The TWC has specific standards for awarding unemployment benefits. The employer's reason for terminating your employment may not meet those standards. Sometimes employers do not defend against an unemployment benefit application. You can receive benefits...

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College Retirement Plans under Fire for Excessive Investment Fees: Dallas 401k attorney

The past ten to fifteen years has given rise to a set of lawsuits against 401k plan administrators over excessive plan fees and revenue sharing agreements between plan administrators and recordkeepers. We are probably approaching the end of this wave of excessive fee litigation against for-profit employers for 401k plans. A new wave of excessive retirement plan fee litigation arises against non-profit plan administrators. Recently nine class actions lawsuits were filed against several major universities for investment fees charged to retirement plan participants in the employees' 401k and 403b plans. The gist of the litigation is the same as the lawsuits filed...

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Why retirement funds are important in a Tarrant County divorce

Our society undervalues the importance of retirement savings in favor of immediate gratification. It also as a whole lacks a meaningful understanding of the investments and plan rules surrounding retirement vehicles like 401k plans and defined benefit pensions. Undervaluing of retirement funds is also true in divorces where the spouses are often focused on the immediate effects of the divorce. This can be a serious misstep in a divorce in Texas where those retirement funds are often fully or partially community property subject to division in the divorce. Increasingly retirement funds make up a large portion of the community property in...

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Why is there a 10% early withdrawal penalty to cash out a 401k? Dallas 401k lawyer explains

Before becoming an employment attorney I worked for one of the largest (maybe the largest) provider of 401k services. We provided various investment, customer service and recordkeeping services for 401k plans. Most people who call for information about their 401k plans will end up talking to my former employer or one of their competitors. Most 401k plan administration responsibilities outsourced to financial institutions that provide the infrastructure and staffing with expertise in plan issues. A large number of calls about 401k plans are for withdrawals from the 401k plan. Many people were dismayed to find out that a 10% early withdrawal penalty may...

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Vanguard funds targeted in new 401k excessive fee litigation: Dallas 401k lawyer explains

401k excessive fee litigation has been an active area of ERISA litigation for over a decade with 401k participants arguing the plan administrator--along with various other plan fiduciaries--breached the duty to prudently manage the investment options of the plan. Most of these cases argue the plan administrator failed to select investments with reasonable fees, particularly in light of the buying power of the 401k plan to obtain lower fee share classes or to obtain access to lower fee funds in the market. Although this issue has been litigated for over a decade we still do not have a clear rule...

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Does my employer have to collect interest on a pension overpayment? Answered by Dallas pension attorney

You receive an envelope from your pension plan.  As usual you think it's either this month's check or some notice you'll scan and toss in the trash. You open it and it isn't a check from your Dallas-Fort Worth employer. It is a notice.  But not the kind of boilerplate legal notice that you normally forget after it hits the trash bin. This notice is a letter from the plan administrator telling you that you've been overpaid on your pension benefit. Not only are they cutting your monthly payment to recover the pension overpayment. They will charge interest against the overpayment. As...

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Fort Worth QDRO Attorney on the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty

QDROs are a powerful tool in the property division in a Dallas or Fort Worth divorce. They allow a party to receive part of an employee's retirement plan benefits (such as a 401k or defined benefit pension). Under the federal law that governs private retirement plans (ERISA) an employer generally may not take away or give part of an employee's accrued benefit to another person. (This is known as ERISA's anti-cutback rule.) The exception is for a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) that awards a portion of the employee's benefit to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of the plan...

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