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. 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 >>
  4. What are my main rights as a 401(k) plan participant?

    Learn how under ERISA, 401(k) plan participants are guaranteed several important rights, including protections of their plan ... 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 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.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.
  6. Retirement

    The Basics of a 401(k) Retirement Plan

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

    3 Questions To Find Your Trading Plan

    Ask yourself these three questions to figure out which strategy is best for you.
  9. Retirement

    Do You Have a Crummy 401(k)?

    High-cost, outdated plans can keep your retirement portfolio from thriving. Here's what to do – and the 2015 Supreme Court case that could help.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Employee Benefits Security Administration - EBSA

    A division of the Department of Labor (DOL) charged with enforcing ...
  2. Qualified Retirement Plan

    A plan that meets requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and ...
  3. Plan Participant

    A plan participant either contributes into a pension plan or ...
  4. Form 4506

    A tax form distributed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ...
  5. Variable Benefit Plan

    A type of retirement plan in which the payout changes depending ...
  6. Defined-Benefit Plan

    An employer-sponsored retirement plan where employee benefits ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Conflict Theory

    A theory propounded by Karl Marx that claims society is in a state of perpetual conflict due to competition for limited resources. ...
  2. Inflation-Linked Savings Bonds (I Bonds)

    U.S. government-issued debt securities similar to regular savings bonds, except they offer an investor inflationary protection, ...
  3. Peak Globalization

    Peak globalization is a theoretical point at which the trend towards more integrated world economies reverses or halts.
  4. Phishing

    A method of identity theft carried out through the creation of a website that seems to represent a legitimate company. The ...
  5. Insurance

    A contract (policy) in which an individual or entity receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an ...
  6. Earnings Per Share - EPS

    The portion of a company's profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock. Earnings per share serves as an indicator ...
Trading Center