Many 401(k) plans allow you to withdraw money before you actually retire to pay for certain events that cause you a financial hardship. For example, some 401(k) plans may allow a hardship distribution to pay for your, your spouse’s, your dependents’ or your primary plan beneficiary’s:
- medical expenses,
- funeral expenses, or
- tuition and related educational expenses.
However, you should know these consequences before taking a hardship distribution:
- The amount of the hardship distribution will permanently reduce the amount you’ll have in the plan at retirement.
- You must pay income tax on any previously untaxed money you receive as a hardship distribution.
- You may also have to pay an additional 10% tax, unless you're age 59½ or older or qualify for another exception.
- You may not be able to contribute to your account for six months after you receive the hardship distribution.
Remember, a 401(k) plan is designed to help you save money for retirement. Consider the consequences before dipping into your retirement savings.
- Retirement Topics - Hardship Distributions
- FAQs: Hardship Distributions
- Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income