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403b Withdrawal from Defunct Employer Problems
Old 06-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #1
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403b Withdrawal from Defunct Employer Problems

I have been absent from the forums for a long time but have ran into a problem. The great advice I picked up here helped me retire at 57 (now 65). Having a bit more in investments now than when I walked out the door and my wife and have been living well. Still no plans to tap SS, that is our safety net if we drop below a certain point in our investments and want to slow the rate of withdrawal.

Any way since I have gotten good advice here before I thought I might get some ideas. We have most of our retirement in Vanguard but have been cleaning up some misc smaller accounts to make life easer as time goes along. My wife is a mostly retired RN and in one of her past jobs opened a 403b. Only a little over $5K in it so we decided to cash it in to supplement our mad money for 2013. The hospital was bought out by a larger hospital and closed 10+ years ago and my wife left even before that. The money is in Lincoln Financial Group.

Now the problems. We requested and got the 8 page form that needed to be filled out and returned to close the account. About 3 weeks after sending the papers in we got a letter saying we needed to contact Great GASB for authorization. They said they tried several times without success. Then said to contact the HR department for additional help (we told them the hospital did not exist anymore in the paper work). Contacting Great GASP had them passing the buck to something called SOMI. Contacting SOMI they again said to contact the hospital that doesn't exist and then said to call the HR department of the very large medical conglomerate that bough out and closed the hospital. Several phone calls to there always gets a phone tree with an answering machine at the end that never returns the call.

Seems to me the 403B is her name and she is 64 years old and should not need permission to withdraw her money. Anyone have any ideas on other paths to take?

Jim...
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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Maybe try the Dept of Labor? They oversee retirement plans. http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/compliance_a....html#section9 is their link for abandoned plans.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:01 PM   #3
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My initial thought is that Lincoln needs verification that your DW is no longer employed there, since there are limitations for withdraws while still employed at the company. If the company that ultimately bought and closed the hospital still exists, you should be able to get some sort of employment verification documentation through the HR department. This should show the date of employment termination, if they still hold DW's HR file.

Call them during the day, when the HR department is staffed, and hit '0' on the phone system until you get to a air breather on the other end of the line.

Alternatively, find the email address of the company's HR department through the Careers page on their web site. Send HR an email with your non-confidential information to get them to contact you.
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I will post how it finally plays out. We are getting ideas from a Facebook page of past employees of the closed company also.

Part of the problem is none of these places will talk to me so my wife has to do the contacting and she has a low frustration level before she stops for the day and goes off and does her quilting. She has sent off some eMails to what looked like the right places in the larger company that bought them out, but no answers yet. Has also been suggested that she contact another branch of the original company that stayed open under the new management (smaller HR department). Tonight it was suggested to take the whole pile of forms and correspondences into the local office of the state Attorney General and ask why this is happening.

We will see.

Jim...
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:51 PM   #5
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I just moved a Lincoln 403b from my NY hospital as well, it went ok, but not quick. Would it make sense to send the form that requires the HR verification of separation from service by certified mail/return receipt? Attach a letter with timeframe, and give the HR director your wife's info, to make it easy, i.e., date of hire, date of retirement, etc. Keep a copy so you can continue with other ideas later, but the real solution is the hospital HR Director or Benefits Director. Can you get a real name of that person from an operator or Administration?

good luck!
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:17 PM   #6
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If that doesn't work, send a letter to the CEO of the hospital that bought / closed the employing hospital (or call the CEO's administrative assistant) and ask for help. Hopefully it can get you some attention.

Kindest regards.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spncity View Post
If that doesn't work, send a letter to the CEO of the hospital that bought / closed the employing hospital (or call the CEO's administrative assistant) and ask for help. Hopefully it can get you some attention.

Kindest regards.
\
To boot send it certified mail return reciept requested, it makes it look more important. An alternative to ask is would they take the last couple of years tax returns, including other W-2s If they dont see a w-2 for a couple of years then one can conclude one no longer works there: I wonder if Social Security/IRS can provide a list for you of w-2s you recieved.
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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Patience and persistence pays off. Keep going, this is your money and they will make it right. Keep pushing just the way you are and you will win.

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Old 06-21-2013, 01:24 PM   #9
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My wife is still pushing but so far no clear path. The state attorney general's office had no suggestions but said if we wanted them to do anything we needed to file a written request. We will go back to that one if necessary. My wife finally got hold of someone in HR in the hospital that bought out the one she worked at. They have records from when they bought her hospital but no older records. She stopped working there 2 years before (seems like they could state she didn't work for them when they bought the hospital or since). She posted on a Facebook page for former employees and found others going through similar problems with a lot more money involved but that was a hospital pension not a 403b.

She called back Great GASP/SOMI and spelled out the whole looping problem and the women told her to spell the whole thing out in an eMail and she would take it to her manager. That was 3 days ago and we have not heard back yet.

Glad we didn't need this money for an emergency.

Jim...
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:08 PM   #10
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The call back and follow up eMail to Great GASP/SOMI spelling out the whole long tail worked. We were just about ready to call back since we didn't hear anything back from them and on Monday the check and closing of 403b showed up in the mail. Took almost 6 weeks. Of course they took the mandatory 20% federal tax. I think I will manipulate my tax withholdings from my Vanguard draw so I don't have to wait till next year for a big refund.

Thanks for all your help.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:33 PM   #11
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Happy to hear you have a resolution to this. It sounds like it was an exercise in frustration to deal with and figure out how to get your money.
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