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QDRO Alt Payee forms of distribution

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If a plan provides multiple forms of distribution to a Distributee (definition includes employees as well as Alt Payees), can the QDRO specifically eliminate some of those options?  Specifically if the QDRO provides for Immediate Payment, does that effectively eliminate the ability for the Alt Payee to choose a deferred benefit, one of the allowable forms of distribution, leaving them with only options that would provide for an immediate determination such as a lump sum payout or single life annuity.  

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Someone more knowledgeable than me might think differently, but I think a QDRO can limit/force options for AP, it just cannot provide something the plan does not allow. With respect to a deferred benefit compared to an immediate benefit, most QDROs I've seen allow AP to wait to commence until participants commences, but must commence no later than that. That is, if participant retires and starts at age 65, AP cannot defer until age 72 RBD. And AP never has the option of a J&S.

Kenneth M. Prell, CEBS, ERPA

Vice President, BPAS Actuarial & Pension Services


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The Plan  Administrator is required to do what the QDRO says should be done so long as it is not prohibited by the applicable law or the requirements/restrictions of the Plan Document. If the Court says in the QDRO to make this or that election, it is binding on the parties.   I think the attached has some application here.   

Advisory Opinion 1999-13A _ U.S. Department of Labor.pdf

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