I recently left my job and want to know how long my former employer can hold my account balance from my date of termination?
Answer: There are a number of factors that will impact the timing of your distributions:
How quickly you complete and submit the proper forms.
The plan itself. Most document the time frame which will be followed in the plans Summary Plan Description (SPD). You got a copy of the SPD when you enrolled and annually thereafter. You can also request a copy at any time. Read up on when your plan makes distributions, but you should know that some plans only make distributions annually. In a few rare cases, distributions are not made until you reach retirement age.
The plans valuation cycle. Your distribution cannot be processed until the plans next valuation date. This is when the plan determines the account balances of each participant. Most plans today determine account balances daily, but there are still lots of plans that only do it monthly, quarterly, semiannually or even annually. Be sure to ask about your plans valuation cycle when you submit the distribution forms.
The paperwork cycle. Once you account has been valued, processing your forms can take as little as a few days or as long as a couple of months. It all depends upon on how the plan is administered.
This is for educational purposes only. The information provided here is intended to help you understand the general issue and does not constitute any tax, investment or legal advice. Consult your financial, tax or legal advisor regarding your own unique situation and your company's benefits representative for rules specific to your plan.