A:

Your employer or the plan administrator for the 401(k) plan should have provided you with a copy of the 401(k) plan's summary plan description (SPD). If you can't find your copy, contact your employer and ask for a replacement copy. A copy of the plan's SPD may also be obtained from the Department of Labor (DOL) by writing to: The Department of Labor, EBSA, Public Disclosure Room, Room N-1513, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>

200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.20210

. (They may charge you copying fees, which are usually a very small amount.)

The SPD is required to include an explanation - in non-technical terms - of the plan provisions, such as your benefits and rights under the plan, including when you are eligible to receive distributions.

Alternatively, you may ask your employer to provide an explanation for refusing to honor your request; in fact, you must be given an explanation in writing. Legitimate explanations for a delay in distributions include the following:

  • You are not yet eligible to receive distributions from the plan. For instance, the plan may require that participants reach a certain age before they are considered eligible to receive a distribution. This age requirement can apply even if you are no longer employed with the company.
  • The plan may make payments only at a certain frequency, such as quarterly. Therefore, if you requested a distribution in mid-January, you may need to wait until March 31 before you receive the requested amount.

If you feel your employer is not complying with the terms of the plan, you may contact the DOL toll free at 1-866-444- 3272 and ask to speak with a regional office representative near you, or you may contact your regional office - see http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/aboutebsa/org_chart.html#section13 for a list of regional offices and their contact information.

This question was answered by Denise Appleby
(Contact Denise)

RELATED FAQS
  1. What information does my employer have to give me regarding my 401(k) plan?

    Obtain 401(k) plan information like a summary plan description, summary annual report and annual statement of account information ... Read Answer >>
  2. I have a KSOP through my employer that I've invested 100% in company stock. I am ...

    In order to be sure of your options, it's best to check the summary plan description (SPD) for the plan. The options may ... Read Answer >>
  3. Can I roll over the 401(k) money from my old job into my new company's plan?

    Roll over your old 401(k) to your new employer's 401(k) or other retirement plan. Check with your new plan to ensure eligibility. ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    What Happens to a 401(k) After You Leave Your Job?

    Find out what happens to your 401(k) after you leave your job. Learn about your five primary options, including cashing out and rolling over to a new plan.
  2. Retirement

    How a 401(k) Works After Retirement

    Find out how your 401(k) works after you retire, including when you are required to begin taking distributions and the tax impact of your withdrawals.
  3. Retirement

    6 Problems With 401k Plans

    If you pay attention to the problems here, you will be able to avoid the negative effects and meet your retirement goals.
  4. Investing

    Understanding the Benefits of Rollover IRAs

    Need help deciding what to do with your 401(k) plan from a former employer? Here are your options.
  5. Retirement

    The Basics of a 401(k) Retirement Plan

    This plan has become one of the most popular retirement options. Here's why.
  6. Financial Advisor

    What To Do With Forgotten 401(k) Plans

    Job hopping is more acceptable, but as a result, workers are leaving 401(k) plans behind. In order to maximize savings that may not make the most sense.
  7. Retirement

    Tips For Moving Retirement Plan Assets

    Moving assets is common when changing jobs or retiring, but you have to do this carefully to avoid penalties.
  8. Investing

    To Roll or Not to Roll: 401(k) Considerations

    If you're on the fence about keeping your 401(k) or rolling it over, make sure you're considering the following scenarios.
  9. Financial Advisor

    Tough Times: Should You Dip Into Your Qualified Plan?

    401(k)s, pensions and profit-sharing plans can be a source of cash, but there are consequences to this option.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Summary Plan Description

    The summary plan description is a document that employers are ...
  2. Eligible Rollover Distribution

    A distribution from an IRA, qualified plan, 403(b) plan or 457 ...
  3. Employee Benefits Security Administration - EBSA

    A division of the Department of Labor (DOL) charged with enforcing ...
  4. Form 4506

    A tax form distributed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ...
  5. Qualified Retirement Plan

    A plan that meets requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and ...
  6. Pension Plan

    A type of retirement plan, usually tax exempt, wherein an employer ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Two And Twenty

    A type of compensation structure that hedge fund managers typically employ in which part of compensation is performance based. ...
  2. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying ...
  3. Expense Ratio

    A measure of what it costs an investment company to operate a mutual fund. An expense ratio is determined through an annual ...
  4. Mezzanine Financing

    A hybrid of debt and equity financing that is typically used to finance the expansion of existing companies. Mezzanine financing ...
  5. Long Run

    A period of time in which all factors of production and costs are variable. In the long run, firms are able to adjust all ...
  6. Quasi Contract

    A legal agreement created by the courts between two parties who did not have a previous obligation to each other. A normal ...
Trading Center