The primary purpose of 403(b) plans, such as the Voluntary Investment Program (VIP), is to help provide you with long-term financial security through a tax-favored savings plan. In exchange for the tax-favored status of this plan, the federal government limits access to these funds while you are still employed. The UW has elected to allow limited access by participants to VIP accounts for loans or IRS-defined “hardships." The IRS rules are strict around both loans and hardships, and you will be asked to provide the UW with appropriate documentation to ensure that you are eligible to access the funds.
In order to comply with new IRS Regulations, effective January 1, 2009, VIP participants must first borrow against their VIP account prior to requesting a "hardship withdrawal" as described in Section 6.3 of the VIP plan document. In other words, you must initiate a loan.
Contact Fidelity Investments at 1-800-343-0860 for all questions pertaining to VIP loans.
Note: New loans from TIAA-CREF VIP accounts are temporarily suspended until TIAA-CREF is able to support mandatory reporting requirements to Fidelity. VIP loans prior to November 1, 2012 are not affected.
VIP limits in-service withdrawals to those required to meet the financial burden of a qualifying hardship of participants and their dependents. If it has been determined that you would not qualify for a loan, you may apply for a hardship withdrawal based on the following IRS withdrawal reasons:
Requests for hardship withdrawals require completion of hardship verification forms. There must be verifiable, immediate, and heavy financial need, and there must not be any other resources reasonably available to you (including loans) to handle that financial need. Your withdrawal will be subject to Federal income taxes, and a 10% penalty may apply. Under IRS rules, employee contributions will be suspended for six months following the distribution.
VIP loan and hardship withdrawals can be complex and have long-lasting consequences to your financial situation. Contact Fidelity Investments at 1-800-343-0860 to receive application details and the required forms to ensure that you are eligible to access the funds.