Loans and Hardship Withdrawals Available for Wildfire Victims

If you live in one of the areas devastated by wildfires in October 2017, you may be able to use some of your UC 403(b) and/or 457(b) Plan accounts to help you rebuild. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is working to help victims of California’s wildfires by relaxing its loan and hardship withdrawal rules for employer-sponsored retirement savings plans like ours.

You can already request a loan from the 403(b) Plan and withdraw after-tax contributions from the DC Plan at any time. But if you were affected by the fires and live or work in one of the counties identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), you may now be able to take a loan from the 403(b) Plan or a hardship withdrawal from the 403(b) or 457(b) Plan under more relaxed rules.

Under the relaxed rules:

  • You can access your money more quickly and with less red tape.
  • You can request a loan or hardship withdrawal to assist a family member who lives or works in an area affected by the fires, even if you weren’t affected yourself.
  • If you request a hardship withdrawal from the 403(b) or 457(b) Plan, your hardship may qualify even if it is not one of the hardship types specifically listed in the regulations.
  • And while the IRS normally requires a six-month suspension of Plan contributions after a hardship withdrawal, that suspension is being waived in these cases.

Similar benefits have also been designated for those affected by recent hurricane-related disasters. For more information, review this listing of eligible locations.

For details on the standard loan and hardship distributions available under the 403(b) Plan and unforeseeable emergency withdrawals available under the 457(b) Plan, please refer to the Summary Plan Descriptions on UCNet. Click Compensation and Benefits, then Retirement Benefits, then UC Voluntary Retirement Savings Programs.

As of December 15, 2017 (article publish date), the IRS has not yet announced relief for the Southern California fires; please periodically check the IRS disaster relief site for announcements related to the fires and the relief that may be available.

What you need to know

If you were affected by a California wildfire in October 2017, you must take your hardship withdrawal by March 15, 2018.

In general, you will need to withdraw any after-tax contributions in your DC Plan account and take a loan from your 403(b) Plan account (or any other lending program maintained by UC's Retirement Savings Program) before applying for a hardship withdrawal.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about your withdrawal options at UC, please contact Fidelity Retirement Services at 1-866-682-7787.

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Questions?

If you have any questions or want to learn more about your withdrawal options at UC, please contact Fidelity Retirement Services.

  • 1-866-682-7787