why is it when people divorce, then the other party have to abide by the memebers rules. I am 57, my husband is 49, and I've been told that I have to wait til he reaches early retirement of 55. I lost my health ins, thru the divorce, and cannot afford my meds now. Is there anyway I can get my half of this money out now?
Bonnie - Depending on the timing of your divorce and your ex-husband's employer health coverage, you may be eligible for COBRA health insurance coverage for a period of up to 3 years following your divorce. This assumes your husband had health insurance through his employer and his company had more than 20 employees.
COBRA coverage isn't cheap, but it's better than no coverage at all.
Regarding the pension, you should contact the plan sponsor (your ex-husband's employer) and try to speak to someone in Human Resources or the benefits department. Each company and pension plan is different, but they may allow you to take your part of his pension earlier, though it would likely be at a reduced amount. If you haven't looked into this already, it would be worth making some calls and confirming what your alternatives are, if any.
The rules are prescribed by the plan administrator. To provide for the efficient functioning of a pension plan, funds need to be managed in a way consistent with the preservation of the money to be there when it is needed based on actuarial assumptions. All of this essentially means that the plan needs to conserve the funds now to be there for the longer-term needs of participants and their beneficiaries. Unfortunately, you are subject to the cruel impact of bad timing in that your ex-spouse is not old enough to claim his benefit and your need is immediate.
You may want to discuss with an attorney any options that you may have for modification to your divorce settlement.
Your situation raises the important point that it is important to go over and prepare for the financial impact of divorce before finalizing a settlement. Health insurance is an important issue that needs to be reviewed early on. And for retirement plans folks really need to have their Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) reviewed by an administrator before the ink is dry.
Because life isn't fair