The recent COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected Americans, but there are ways to make it easier. The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act allows people who the pandemic has been financially impacted to withdraw funds without penalty from their CARES Act 401k plan if they need money right away for something important like healthcare expenses while also maintaining eligibility.
The easiest way would be taking an early distribution which could allow one to access these tax benefits retroactively. Still, only a limited amount of money can be taken out without penalty.
Facts About Cares Act
- Individuals can withdraw up to $100k from a 401k or IRA with no penalty under the cares act.
- Early withdrawals are taxed at normal income tax rates.
- Participants of this plan can choose whether or not to pay taxes on the distribution for three years and then repay it in full without having any tax consequences.
What Entails 401k Withdrawal?
If a person withdraws money from their retirement account before they turn 591/2 years old, the early withdrawal penalty can be as high as 10%.
Loans are meant to help when in a tight situation, but certain limitations come with them. These include withdrawing money for unforeseen circumstances like disasters or out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Some people might be intimidated into keeping their retirement savings for a long time because of the 10% early withdrawal penalty that could ensue if they take out more money than planned. However, this new bill has changed all those rules. Participants can now withdraw up to $100K per person without incurring any tax consequences. Early withdrawals beyond these limits won’t qualify under special treatment but will still come at much lower rates.
People Qualifying for the Withdrawal
The account holder, spouse, or dependent must have been diagnosed with COVID-19 using a CDC-approved test.
The account owner must have suffered financial hardship as a result of COVID-19-related circumstances. Other common effects are financial hardships resulting from unfavorable circumstances such as being unable to work due to the shortage or closure of child care, reduced pay rates and hours on jobs that remain available after infection occurs, etc.
How Does the 401 Withdrawal Work?
Participants should always inquire about the process for requesting a 401k or IRA withdrawal from their plan administrator. Participants might be required to fill out an application, show proof of hardship, and provide personal information such as Social Security Number before receiving funds in this account type’s designated provider.
A committee or a designated person in charge of making hardship withdrawal decisions will have to approve the request. The plan administrator will process the request if the participant qualifies for a hardship withdrawal under IRS standards. Approval and processing of a hardship request can take several weeks, depending on the plan administrator. As a result, a hardship withdrawal might not be the best choice for the most pressing financial demands.
When withdrawing from a CARES Act 401k account, there are some considerations for individuals who plan to withdraw their assets before age 59 ½ or whose income exceeds certain limits set by the IRS each year.