Royal Oak, Mich.—August 13, 2021—J.J. Conway Law, an employee benefits and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) law firm, is pleased to announce that principal attorney and founder John Joseph (J.J.) Conway has been named to the 2021 Michigan Super Lawyers list. Super Lawyers uses a patented multiphase selection process with peer nominations, evaluations and independent research to determine who is awarded the Super Lawyers designation.

Conway, who has been honored as a Michigan Super Lawyer since 2013, has been named in the category of employment litigation – plaintiff, in 2021. He adds this recognition to several other Super Lawyers titles including Michigan Super Lawyers’ list of “Rising Stars” 2008–2011 and the Top 50: Michigan Consumer Super Lawyers for 2016 and 2017.

With over 22 years of experience, Conway fights for his clients to reclaim the benefits rightfully owed to them through the firm’s guiding principle of Conquer Tomorrow®. In legally navigating the complexities of disability and retirement benefits, he has recovered more than $65 million in benefits for his clients and won landmark class-action lawsuits in favor of families and retirees.

A trailblazer in employee benefits, Conway is known in particular for his defending of the right to autism benefits. He successfully litigated the first federal autism benefits healthcare action against an employee benefit plan where the court held that denying medical treatment for autism was “arbitrary and capricious,” and has acted as co-lead class action counsel on many cases—one notably for a nationwide class action of 22,000 military families seeking healthcare treatment for their children with autism.

In addition, Conway served as co-lead class action counsel for 9,000 pension plan participants against the City of Detroit’s Pension Fund, its trustees and advisors, seeking protection of the funds themselves and resulting in a multi-million-dollar settlement and major structural reforms concerning the investment of pension monies in unregulated investments.

Throughout his career, Conway has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the Thomas P. Moore Leadership in Philanthropy Award from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award, and Leading Lawyers—named as a Leading Lawyer in employee benefits law. He also authored a primer on ERISA law and benefits: “Hitting You When You Least Expect It: A Basic Guide to ERISA for Non-ERISA Lawyers,” which is one of the top searched documents on the web discussing employee benefits claims.

Conway obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before going on to obtain his Juris Doctorate at University of Detroit Mercy, where he graduated early and second in his class. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, and State Bar of Arizona.

About Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented, multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer review by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. For more information, go to SuperLawyers.com.

About J.J. Conway Law

J.J. Conway Law was founded by John Joseph (J.J.) Conway in 1999 to work with individuals seeking full access to the employee benefits they have earned. The firm has been involved with nationally significant employee benefit, disability and pension cases, including class action lawsuits for such landmark decisions as requiring Michigan private insurers to cover autism health treatments for children through age 18 and protecting the pension rights of City of Detroit employees, police and firefighters as well as Wayne County employees by holding their trustees accountable for investment decisions. The firm’s motto is Conquer Tomorrow® and is dedicated to making tomorrow easier for its clients across the United States.  Learn more on the firm’s website.

Media Contact: Barbara M. Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466.

COVID-19 is stunning in its impact on the complexity of our daily lives. For the past eighteen months, entire societal systems have been upended. As some commentators have put it, we have advanced a decade in a matter of months in terms of how we live, work, and interact with each other.

 

Understandably, the pandemic has created even more anxiety over subjects that everyone already worries about: health and finances. We all want to know that our families will be cared for and that we can rely on the benefits we’ve earned through our careers.

 

As with many other aspects of our employment situations, COVID-19 has had an influence on healthcare and disability benefits. In order to ensure the best care for you and your family, it’s important to be aware of the state of your employee benefits plans.

 

Here are five important things you should know about your benefits in the wake of COVID-19:

 

 

Acute care needs related to the pandemic should be covered

 

 

Since COVID-19 is a contagious disease transmitted through respiratory exposure, contracting it results in obvious acute care needs. Treatment related to COVID-19 should, for the most part, be covered by your insurer or through federal government reimbursements. The nationwide vaccination program is being administered at no cost and COVID-19 testing is often free or covered without cost-sharing obligations. If you are being charged for COVID-19 preventative or diagnostic care, there is likely a problem with the claim. 

 

 

Mental health treatments should also be covered

 

 

An extremely important, but often overlooked aspect of healthcare during the pandemic, is for the treatment of mental health and substance abuse. Treatment for these conditions is mandated under federal law (and some state laws). Appropriate care for outpatient, inpatient, and residential treatment is to be provided in all healthcare plans that are covered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act

 

 

If you’ve been laid off, the health exchange may be a better option than COBRA

 

 

Continued healthcare if you were furloughed or laid off is also of particular concern. If you work for an employer with more than 20 employees, you should have received a COBRA notice if you were furloughed or laid off. COBRA allows you to continue with your current health insurance for 18 months, albeit at a significant cost. Many employees that have been laid off find coverage on the ACA exchanges may be a more affordable option than COBRA. For those who have been hurt financially in a more significant way, some states will provide basic health insurance coverage paid for by Medicaid. 

 

 

Your physical work location should not interrupt your coverage

 

 

Employee benefits such as healthcare and other benefits, particularly long-term disability (LTD) insurance, are available to employees who are “actively-at-work.” In other words, the employees have to be active employees, and in most cases, working full-time. What this means is that even if you are working from home, or off-site, certain benefits should continue without interruption as the employment status is what governs your eligibility, not the physical location of the work site.  

 

This is particularly important in the context of long-term disability insurance protections. Your LTD benefits typically replace your income if you are unable to work because of a non-work related medical event, such as an illness or injury that occurs outside the workplace.  

 

LTD benefits are critically important for an individual or family’s financial security since a good policy provides roughly the same amount of income that a person brings home after taxes. 


“Actively-at-work” clauses have been interpreted to mean that an employee must be working at his or her regular place of business. For many, that place of business has become the home.

 

 

Employees are slacking on retirement investing

 

 

Now is not a time to get lax with your retirement investing, but that’s exactly what’s happening. Since the pandemic began, the meeting with 401(k) representatives has been largely moved to video conference calls that are easy to miss or reschedule. When representatives are onsite (often providing lunch) it is easier to think about the health of your retirement plan.  

 

Through COVID-19 we’re seeing many employees lose a year-and-a-half or more of time at the office, making it easy to skip the meeting with your advisor. Failing to properly fund your retirement investing during this time can provide some challenges later in life – like extending your retirement date. 

 

Don’t fall victim to this. Stay on top of it and schedule that call. Also important is to take stock of the charges and fees that have been assessed against those accounts. Keep an eye on them. If the fees are excessive, your retirement planning may be further affected. 

 

To summarize, now is not the time to coast and hope your benefits are fine. 

 

The COVID-19 crisis has affected almost every aspect of our lives. Employee benefits are no exception. Knowing what your benefit plans provide, and how they are supposed to support you, is critical to your future physical and financial health. It’s easy to let this slip to the back of your mind, but to not take stock and make sure your benefits are in order would be a mistake. 

 

Do this now: Help ensure your family’s well-being by setting up a call with your human resource manager to go over the details of your healthcare, disability, and retirement benefits. 

 

The legal world involving employee benefits claims is complex and specialized. If you suspect there is a problem with your health insurance coverage, disability, or retirement benefits, please ask us for help. The first call is on us. We have the legal background and skills necessary to help you solve the problem.

 

If you found this helpful, sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on future healthcare, disability, and retirement benefits issues.

Authored by J.J. Conway, Principal Attorney and Founder