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, 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. How can I get information about my deceased husband's retirement account if his employer ...

    That is unusual. Contact his employer again and if you are not satisfied with the response, ask to speak with a supervisor ... Read Answer >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. 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

    Is Your 401(k) Being Mismanaged?

    401(k) plans managed by the wrong people can be hazardous to your future!
  2. Retirement

    What to Do With Your 401(k) if You Change Jobs

    There are several options for your old 401(k) if you start working for a new employer.
  3. Retirement

    4 Things You Should Know About 401(k) Plans

    Understanding the basics of and participating in a 401(k) plan will enhance your financial future.
  4. Investing

    401(k) Lawsuits: How Employers Are Protecting Themselves

    Some companies are making it harder for employees to sue over retirement fund problems. Here is what you need to know about the trend.
  5. Retirement

    Should You Join Your Company’s 401(k) Plan?

    There are several good reasons to take advantage of an employer's 401(k) plan.
  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. Investing

    4 Options for Your Old 401(k) If You Change Jobs

    These are the four options available for your old 401(k) when you leave a job.
  8. 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.
  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. 401(k) Plan

    A qualified plan established by employers to which eligible employees ...
  3. Eligible Rollover Distribution

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

    A division of the Department of Labor (DOL) charged with enforcing ...
  5. Form 1095-C

    An IRS form sent to anyone who received health insurance coverage ...
  6. Active Participant Status

    Active-participant status is a reference to an individual's participation ...
Hot Definitions
  1. SEC Form 13F

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also known as the Information Required of Institutional Investment ...
  2. Quantitative Easing

    An unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases private sector financial assets in order to lower interest ...
  3. Risk Averse

    A description of an investor who, when faced with two investments with a similar expected return (but different risks), will ...
  4. Indirect Tax

    A tax that increases the price of a good so that consumers are actually paying the tax by paying more for the products. An ...
  5. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  6. Beta

    Beta is a measure of the volatility, or systematic risk, of a security or a portfolio in comparison to the market as a whole. ...
Trading Center