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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20401
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I have been collecting a pension for two years, I presently

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I have been collecting a pension for two years, I presently work a full time job, I've run into some debt, can I withdraw the balance of my money even though I'm started to collect the pension?

Thank you for the information and your question. Is this a regular pension, a 401K or what? Have you read the Summary Plan Description (SPD) for the pension plan and if so, what does it say? What does the pension administrator say the reason is that you cannot draw the balance?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Regular pension, they said that I've already started receiving monies, wanted to find out if this is true. It's my money and I should be able to withdraw it if I choose to do so.

Hello again and thank you for your reply. However, I don't see where you answered my question about whether you reviewed your SPD and what it says. But, in any event, I can tell you what the law says in general. Pensions are covered under a law called ERISA. An employer that sets up a pension plan must follow very strict statutory and regulatory guidelines when setting up the plan and its terms and must follow the plan to a tee. In other words, once a plan is set up, there is no flexibility in the way it is administered. All employers have different plans though and the terms of your specific pension plan is set out in something called the Summary Plan Description (SPD). You should have received a copy from your employer or the Plan Administrator. If you didn't, you can ask for it.

So, if the SPD says that there are no lump sum distributions, then that is the rule the Plan must follow. I can tell you that it would be very unusual for a pension plan to allow for lump sum distributions as most only allow monthly distributions. This is different from a 401K in the sense with a 401K, there are often exceptions, as allowed by law, to take a loan against the funds for certain types of emergencies. But, not pensions.

So, once you have reviewed your SPD, if you believe that the Plan Administrator has made a mistake and the Plan does allow for lump sum payouts, then you can file a complaint with the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, the agency that enforces ERISA.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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