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Don’t set weekend deadline for appealing benefits denial

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When an employer (or plan administrator) denies a request to receive an ERISA-covered benefit, it must inform the employee that he must appeal by a certain date, typically 180 days. When the 180th day falls on a weekend, those days aren’t counted.

Recent case: Andre applied for continued long-term disability benefits through his employer’s disability plan. In a letter denying his application, Aetna informed Andre that he could file an internal appeal of the decision within 180 days. The 180-day period ended on a Saturday. Andre mailed his appeal the following Monday; Aetna denied it as untimely.

The 9th Circuit disagreed. It said for ERISA-covered benefit denial appeals, if the last day falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the next business day, in this case, Monday. (LeGras v. Aetna, et al., No. 12-56541, 9th Cir., 2015)

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