ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act was formed in 1974 to protect the rights of beneficiaries of Pension Plans. ERISA determines the guidelines set for Pension Plans. ERISA has set boundaries and guidelines, but every individual plan differs. To determine the exact benefits of your Pension Plan, you will need to review the Summary Plan Description. You may get a copy of your Summary Plan Description from your employer, or you may contact the Labor Board at The Department of Labor.