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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118127
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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My name is ***** *****. My 78 year old mother resifned from

Customer Question

My name is ***** *****. My 78 year old mother resifned from her job of 13 years in October of last year. She had invested in a 401K plan and profit sharing as well. She has had nothing but excuses and promises not kept from her previous employer trying to get her money. She is now living soley on her SS check and is in dire need of this money. She has had reasons by her employer from "the check is here and waiting on thenboss to sign it," to "we are waiting on the accountant to release it," and just recently, "it is ready and will be in your mail box on Monday," for why she hasnt received it yet. What can i do for her or what can be done. If i u derstand correctly, the 401k money she put in as an employee should in the bank and is hers to get whenever she chooses.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
They cannot withhold her money, it is illegal both under ERISA (the retirement laws) for ERISA plans and even for Non-ERISA plans it is a breach of contract and possibly theft.
If she has contacted the employer and has received such a letter as you described, you need to respond to them in writing telling them that they are now illegally withholding her funds and that you will be contacting the state attorney general's office as well as the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation ( and will be filing complaints with them regarding their unreasonable delay in releasing her pension funds.
The 401K she needs to contact the place that the 401K is deposited with and you can access those funds as they told you. You would need to get a power of attorney from her stating you have her authority to access those funds on her behalf or you need to bring her to the bank to access the 401K funds yourself. The employer has to tell you though where those funds are held if they have not yet done so.