Group Legal Services Plan

Security When You Need It!

This is a comprehensive benefit program and the following benefit descriptions are only a summary. When you enroll, you will receive a detailed Schedule of Benefits. Your low annual fee covers the cost of all these benefits.

Advice and Consultation

This plan gives you up to five hours of advice and consultation per year, per family, with respect to many situations or problems that may have legal implications. This benefit is available in addition to all of the other listed benefits.

Administrative Proceedings

You will have complete coverage, with representation and advice through all stages of a proceeding, which may involve matters before such federal, state or local agencies as a motor vehicle department. As an example, if your driver's license is revoked or suspended due to a traffic violation or similar problem. Full representation is also covered in Social Security hearings if you have problems or disputes over your right to certain benefits or the amount of benefits. Also included is representation before Federal or State Income Tax Bureaus if you have to appear for an audit. Unemployment and Disability Hearings are not covered.

Civil Litigation/Consumer Transactions

Full representation in many matters involving civil litigation for consumer transactions whether they are lawsuits brought by you or against you. An example of this coverage is where you may have purchased an item which is not properly working and you wish to enforce the warranty provisions, or if a repairman does not do his work to your satisfaction, you may sue for return of the money that was paid. Other examples would include lawsuits for improper auto repairs or home remodeling, and even insurance claims.

Criminal Matters

Full representation by a panel attorney for criminal misdemeanor cases and youthful offender cases from the arrest through a hearing and/or trial. This is available to the member and family on the basis of one proceeding per 12 month period. Felony cases are not covered.

Domestic Relations And Other Family Related Matters

Non-contested Divorce, Separation or Annulment is covered. This benefit, which becomes effective after you have been enrolled in the plan for six months, provides the member with full representation by an attorney. Examples of other types of coverage are child support and custody matters, adoptions and guardianships. Coverage provided by this section is limited, however, to one such matter every three years, and is available only to the member..

Estate Planning

Every member should have a will. This plan will provide you with an attorney to prepare many types of wills and for the probate and administration of your estate. Available once every two (2) years.

Financial Counseling

You'll have an attorney to represent you in matters of bankruptcy (chapter 7 only) and similar problems.

Tenant Matters

Many problems which may arise with a landlord are covered. You will also receive representation for preparation of a lease of property for residential use.

Personal Injury

You'll have an attorney to represent you in situations of personal injury and/or property damage cases where you or a family member is the defendant and there is no insurance or insurance coverage limited.

Real Estate Transactions

If you are buying or selling a home, you will receive representation and complete review, preparation and examination of all documents. This includes refinancing of mortgages. (This coverage is available for one purchase and one sale of real property for use as the member's primary residence in any three year period.)

Traffic Matters

You will receive coverage for one traffic matter per 12 month period, per family. Violations for parking and resulting license or registration suspension are excluded.

Identity Theft

The plan will provide these attorney services if you or a covered spouse or dependent should become a victim of identity theft: phone consultation, contact with affected financial institutions, notification and follow up with the three major credit reporting agencies, assistance with reporting theft to local authorities and preparation of necessary affidavits, notification of theft to Federal Trade Commissions and preparation of all necessary related documents.

Both Member And Spouse Are APWU Members?

Because spouse and dependent coverage is limited, a spouse who is also an APWU Member should enroll under his or her own membership to receive full benefits under this program.

Who May Enroll In The Plan?

This plan was developed especially for you. You can only belong if you are a member in good standing of the American Postal Workers Union. Your spouse and dependent children under the age of 19 are also entitled to limited benefits under your enrollment at no additional cost. This plan is available only during open enrollment periods. Transitional Employees and Retirees are eligible.

How Does The Plan Work?

When you have the need for legal services, simply call the "800" telephone number that will be provided to get the name of a panel attorney in your area. When you visit with the panel attorney, you will be asked to complete a claim for legal benefits form. This form will inform the administrative office of the attorney contact, enable you or your dependent to receive coverage and allow payment to be made to the attorney. Included in the benefit is an item to cover certain court costs up to $100 a year. The Voluntary Benefits Plan will have no obligation to pay for or furnish legal services to any member who is not in good standing with the Union or to any member using a non-panel attorney unless prior authorization is granted by the plan.

What Is The Cost Of This Plan?

Your low APWU Group Rate is $7.75 per pay period including your eligible Dependents. Premiums are payable through payroll deduction.

Effective Date

Coverage for you and your eligible Dependents will become effective 90 days from the payday the first premium is deducted from your paycheck, except for Domestic Relations (6 month waiting period).

It's Easy To Enroll

  1. Simply complete the enrollment form authorizing payroll deduction.
    Click here
    for an enrollment form. Please make sure you complete all the information requested. An incomplete application will be returned, resulting in a delay in processing your application. You may apply for this benefit over the telephone however enrollment is limited to the Open Enrollment period.
  2. Send no money.
  3. Return your application to: The Voluntary Benefits Plan, P.O. Box 12009, Cheshire, CT 06410 or fax to 1-203-754-7847

Unavailable Services

Some of the benefit coverages which are not included are:

  • Any business venture
  • A judicial or administrative proceeding which began prior to the coverage effective date
  • A judicial or administrative proceeding involving any of the following as an adverse party:
    • The American Postal Workers Union, its Officers, or Representatives, its agents or employees
    • Any other Postal union, its agents or employees
    • The Voluntary Benefits Plan, its trustees, agents or employees
    • The Administrator, its agents or employees
    • The APWU Health Plan, its agents or employees
    • The US Postal Service
    • Another member, except as listed under Domestic Relations and Real Estate Transactions
  • Any matter which is normally covered by an attorney on a contingent fee basis
  • Appeals of decisions, judgments or orders
  • The preparation and filing of Income Tax Returns
  • The purchase of a house or land not intended for use as your primary residence
  • Any matter in which Legal Services are available through insurance coverage.
  • Interventions or amicus curiae filings in any matter not involving the immediate and direct interests of the eligible member or dependent
  • Collection of items which are considered accounts payable on behalf of a participant
  • Small claims court matters

Any Questions?

Call the following toll-free number:

  • 1-800-422-4492

Please Note

You must notify The Voluntary Benefits Plan of any address change for you, your dependents and/or beneficiaries, and any change in employment and union membership status change, life status change (i.e., marriage, divorce, beneficiary or name change), or benefit changes requested. Notice must be in writing.

This is a general explanation of your legal Services Plan. It is not a contract, policy or Summary Plan Description. The contract is on file with the Administrator. When you enroll, a detailed Schedule of Benefits will be mailed to you.

Administered by:

The Voluntary Benefits Plan
P.O. Box 12009
Cheshire, CT 06410
Phone: 1-800-422-4492
Fax: 1-203-754-7847

 

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