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ANR Employees

Finances hurt by COVID-19? UC Regents allow access to retirement savings

The UC Board of Regents voted on May 21, 2020, to implement provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)  to make it easier for participants to access funds from their retirement savings plans. These optional provisions required approval from the Regents, who are responsible for overseeing the UC Retirement Savings Program (which includes the Defined Contribution Plan, Tax-Deferred 403(b) Plan, and 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan). 

If you or a dependent are diagnosed with the virus SARS-Co-V-2 or with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), or you experience adverse financial consequences as a result of the virus or disease, the CARES Act is designed to help by extending access to loans and withdrawals from employer-sponsored retirement savings plans like UC's.

Withdrawals from the UC 403(b), 457(b) and DC Plan

  • The CARES Act allows you to withdraw 100% of your own vested balances up to $100,000 (whichever is less) from your UC 403(b), 457(b) plan, or DC Plan account.
  • You won't owe the customary early withdrawal penalty when you withdraw under the CARES Act provision.
  • You are still subject to federal income tax on your withdrawal, but it can be spread out evenly over three years. Check with your state tax board for more information about how this applies to your state income taxes.
  • You may also repay all or part of your CARES Act withdrawal within three years and, if you do, your repayment won't be subject to federal income tax or to the annual IRS contribution limit. That means it won't affect the amount you would normally contribute to your UC plan.
  • CARES Act withdrawals are available until Dec. 30, 2020.
  • The CARES Act increases the maximum amount you can borrow from your UC 403(b) Plan. This increase is available until Sept. 23, 2020 (180 days since the CARES Act was enacted). Currently, you can borrow up to 50% of your total UC Retirement Savings Program account balance up to $50,000. Under the CARES Act, you can borrow up to 100% of your vested 403(b) plan balance up to $100,000, whichever is less. Note: If you've taken a loan in the past 12 months, the amount you can borrow will be reduced by the highest outstanding loan balance. 
  • If you are currently repaying a UC 403(b) Plan loan or request a CARES Act loan, you can delay your repayments until Dec. 31, 2020.

403(b) Plan Loans

What qualifies as a financial consequence?

To qualify for a CARES Act withdrawal, loan, or to delay a loan repayment, you must self-certify that you face at least one of the following financial consequences:

  • You, your spouse, or your dependents have been diagnosed with SARS-Co-V-2 or COVID-19 by an approved test from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • You have experienced a financial hardship as a result of quarantine, furlough, layoff, or reduced work hours.
  • You are unable to work due to issues accessing childcare.
  • A business that you own or operate has been closed or its hours have been reduced.
  • You meet other criteria determined by the U.S. Treasury Secretary.

Important considerations

Weigh the consequences on your future financial security before you tap into your UC retirement savings accounts, especially in volatile markets. If you have access to other means of funding, such as home equity, a family member, or other viable sources of short-term cash, consider these options as well.

Call Fidelity at 1-866-682-7787 to request a withdrawal or loan, or to delay your current loan repayments.

For more information

  • To understand UC 403(b) Plan loans, read How 403(b) Plan Loans Work.
  • To learn more about the CARES Act or find updates on its provisions, visit
  • If you have questions about the CARES Act or need guidance on accessing your retirement funds through these provisions, call a UC-dedicated Fidelity Retirement Planner at (800) 558-9182.
Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 4:00 PM

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