§457 Plan Not Required to Offer Distributions for Hurricane Relief

In Information Letter INFO 2018-0024 the IRS responded to an individual who wished to take a distribution from a §457 retirement plan to help with repairs that were made necessary due to damages caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

As the IRS letter notes, Congress authorized plans to make distributions related to Irma:

Some people affected by Hurricane Irma were helped by the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017. This law authorizes retirement plans, including Section 457 plans, to make distributions to individuals who suffered an economic loss because of Hurricane Irma. These distributions, which have to be made before January 1, 2019, are eligible for favorable tax treatment. See IRS Publication 976, Disaster Relief, (which can be found on our website at IRS.gov) for more information.

However, that authorization does not mean that plans were required to allow for such distributions.  As the letter continues:

A Section 457 plan is not required to make special distributions on account of Hurricane Irma, and even if it does, the plan may impose conditions on obtaining a distribution. If you feel you have been wrongly denied a distribution, you may be able to appeal the denial through the plan's appeal procedures.

The same “allowed to make special distributions but not required to” would apply to similar relief offered for other types of plans.