How to Obtain Benefits
Your plan benefits will normally start when you retire. Prior to age 65, you may not withdraw any of the funds in your Retirement Plan accounts under any circumstances as long as you are employed at the University. Once you reach age 65, you may start your benefits—regardless of whether you are retired or still employed. If you wish, however, you may postpone the start of your benefits while you are still working for the University.
Your retirement benefits can be distributed in different ways; you may choose the form of payment.
Particularly if you have large plan account balances (or other retirement plan accumulations, including other 403(b) arrangements, employer-qualified plans, or IRAs), your choice of a form of payment may affect your tax and estate planning. Consult a qualified advisor if you have any questions.
If you are married and wish to receive your benefits in the form of an annuity, federal law provides that you must receive your annuity benefits in the form of a 50 Percent Joint and Survivor Annuity, with your spouse as beneficiary, unless your spouse agrees, in writing, to your choice of another form of annuity payment. Your spouse’s signature must be witnessed by a plan representative or notarized by a notary public.
Your Spouse’s Rights
Under federal pension legislation, if you choose any annuity method of payment other than a Survivor Annuity with your spouse as the survivor, your spouse must give written consent that acknowledges his or her rights to survivor annuity benefits are being waived. Your spouse’s signature must be witnessed by a plan representative or notarized by a notary public.
Federal pension law (ERISA) provides that if you are married at the time of your death, your spouse is entitled to receive, as primary beneficiary, your qualified preretirement survivor death benefits under a retirement or tax-deferred annuity plan covered by ERISA. If you name someone other than your spouse as primary beneficiary, your spouse must consent to this primary beneficiary designation by completing a Spousal Waiver. The qualified preretirement survivor annuity death benefits will then be payable to such primary beneficiary. If you elected only a portion to be paid to the designated beneficiary, then the remainder will be payable to your spouse.
If you designate your spouse as beneficiary and the individual later ceases to be your spouse, such designation will be deemed void and your ex-spouse will have no rights as a beneficiary unless redesignated as a beneficiary by you subsequent to becoming your ex-spouse, or as otherwise provided under a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) under Internal Revenue Code Section 414(p).