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)

  1. Can a 401(k) be taken in bankruptcy?

    The two most common types of bankruptcy available to consumers are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Whether you file a Chapter 7 ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. When can catch-up contributions start?

    Most qualified retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and SIMPLE 401(k) plans, as well as individual retirement accounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Who can make catch-up contributions?

    Most common retirement plans such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans, as well as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) allow you ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can you have both a 401(k) and an IRA?

    Investors can have both a 401(k) and an individual retirement account (IRA) at the same time, and it is quite common to have ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are 401(k) contributions tax deductible?

    All contributions to qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s reduce taxable income, which lowers the total taxes owed. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are 401(k) rollovers taxable?

    401(k) rollovers are generally not taxable as long as the money goes into another qualifying plan, an individual retirement ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    What a Family Tradition Taught Me About Investing

    We share some lessons from friends and family on saving money and planning for retirement.
  2. Retirement

    Two Heads Are Better Than One With Your Finances

    We discuss the advantages of seeking professional help when it comes to managing our retirement account.
  3. Retirement

    5 Secrets You Didn’t Know About Traditional IRAs

    A traditional IRA gives you complete control over your contributions, and offers a nice complement to an employer-provided savings plan.
  4. 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.
  5. Retirement

    Are Fees Depleting Your Retirement Savings?  

    Each retirement account will have a fee associated with it. The key is to lower these fees as much as possible to maximize your return.
  6. Retirement

    Retirement Tips for Doctors

    Learn five tips that can help physicians get back on schedule in terms of making financial preparations they need to retire.
  7. Investing Basics

    Do You Need More Than One Financial Advisor?

    Using more than one financial advisor for money management has its pros and cons.
  8. Insurance

    Cashing in Your Life Insurance Policy

    Tough times call for desperate measures, but is raiding your life insurance policy even worth considering?
  9. Retirement

    Pros and Cons of Deferred Compensation Plans

    Learn about the pros and cons of non-qualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans, including the flexibility of non-ERISA plans and the potential for forfeiture.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The 8 Most Popular Vanguard Funds for a 401(k)

    Learn about some of the mutual funds in Vanguard's lineup that are popular among 401(k) investors, and find out why you should consider them.
  1. Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract

    A Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC) is a deferred annuity ...
  2. Backdoor Roth IRA

    A method that taxpayers can use to place retirement savings in ...
  3. Current Service Benefit

    The amount of pension benefit accrued by an employee who had ...
  4. Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

    A tax-efficient retirement savings account available in Great ...
  5. Elder Care

    Elder care, sometimes called elderly care, refers to services ...
  6. Eligible Transfer

    An IRS-allowed movement of assets into or out of an individual ...

You May Also Like

Trading Center