On November 24, 2017, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) released regulations finalizing a 90-day delay on the application of new claims procedures for disability claims. The Obama-era regulations providing for the new claims procedures were set to become effective for disability claims filed on or after January 1, 2018. In the absence of additional regulatory changes, the new claims procedures will apply to disability claims filed on or after April 1, 2018.

The 60-day public comment period for the final disability claims procedures regulations remains open (ending on December 11, 2017), although the DOL did not extend that period. Because the DOL is still accepting comments on the final regulations relating to their possible rescission, modification or retention, the ultimate fate of the final regulations remains uncertain.

Despite the uncertain climate, because of the time needed to adopt and implement new procedures, plans may still wish to continue working toward being in compliance with the final regulations on April 1, 2018 until more information and guidance is available. We will continue monitoring for developments. For more information on the new disability claims procedures and the 90-day delay, see our August 1, 2017 and October 12, 2017 blog entries.