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401k hardship withdrawal for non safe harbor reasons


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This 401k plan does permit hardships for non safe harbor reasons.  But does that mean it can be any hardship that the Plan Administrator deems to be an acceptable hardhship reason?  Assuming it meets the immediate and heavy financial need, would an employee purchasing a new furnace for which she has no other means other than the plan be acceptable?  She is a non-HCE and we assume that any future requests for new furnaces from other employees would be reviewed and accepted?

Thank you

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Santo Gold, the regs (1.401(k)-1(d)(3)) say if you are not using deemed reasons, then you must use "facts and circumstances," and good judgement. They say funeral expenses yes, boat or TV, no. I don't have all the facts and circumstances for the case you ask about, but I think a furnace is probably on the yes side. Maybe a little early in the year, though, to be an immediate need, although I guess if there is trouble getting scheduled and in your region in gets cold in November, 5 months out could be OK.

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When I was working for a another custodian in my previous life, the stance was if the furnace needs to be replaced due to normal wear and tear, than it wasn't approved; however, if the furnace stopped working due to an incidence (e.g. flooding in the area) than because it was not foreseeable, the request would be approved.

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3 hours ago, JOH said:

When I was working for a another custodian in my previous life, the stance was if the furnace needs to be replaced due to normal wear and tear, than it wasn't approved; however, if the furnace stopped working due to an incidence (e.g. flooding in the area) than because it was not foreseeable, the request would be approved.

That does not make sense to me, JOH. You will freeze to death in winter either way, which seems like a hardship. The 457(b) and 409A standards are unforeseen emergencies, which are different. But this is 401(k).

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12 hours ago, Luke Bailey said:

The 457(b) and 409A standards are unforeseen emergencies, which are different. But this is 401(k).

Even breaking due to wear and tear is an unforeseeable emergency.  The furnace doesn't have a countdown on it saying it expires in 30 days. 

Rules are heavy and immediate need.  OK, so my furnace goes out in June.  Certainly a "heavy" need.  May not need it until September, maybe October.  Should I just wait until then to put in my hardship request?  It'll be immediate then.

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