What Does E-Delivery Mean for My 401(k) Plan?

September 03, 2020

In May, the DOL passed a new regulation that allows plan administrators to deliver retirement plan documents to participants online. This is a significant departure from previous rules surrounding plan disclosures. So what does this mean for your 401(k) plan?

Participants first receive an Initial Notice of Internet Availability

First, plan participants will receive an initial notice in the mail. This is a one-time paper notice that gives the participant a heads up that their plan documents will be online going forward. It confirms their email address and lets them know that the plan documents are available online through their participant account.

The initial notice also includes an opt-out form, which allows the participant to opt out of electronic delivery and continue receiving paper notices. Notably, if a participant is currently receiving paper notices, they’ll need to opt out of electronic delivery to continue receiving paper notices.

Plan sponsors may have to collect email addresses for participants that haven’t yet provided that information. They may also have to provide a work-related email address to a participant who doesn’t currently have an email address. The initial notice can be handed out to participants with other new hire documents, so this might be a good time to get the participant’s email address on file.

Alternate payees and beneficiaries may receive electronic delivery of notices as well, but only if they provide an email address to the plan sponsor.

Participants then receive a Notice of Internet Availability

After participants have received the initial notice, they’ll receive a Notice of Internet Availability. This notice will be sent to participants each time a new document is posted online. Participants who have opted out of the electronic delivery will not receive an NOIA and their plan disclosures will be mailed.

What if an email address is marked as undeliverable?

If a participant’s email address is undeliverable, plan sponsors may use a secondary email address if they have it on file. If not, the plan sponsor must follow up with the participant. If the participant doesn’t have an updated or valid email address, they’ll receive paper copies of the plan disclosures.

For more details on the new regulation, check out this article.

Questions? Contact us at support@erisa.com or 1-800-858-6989.

Related Articles

Identifying Related Employers: Part II – Control Groups

Identifying Related Employers: Part II – Control Groups

There are two major types of Related Employers: Affiliated Service Groups and Control Groups. Part I of this series discussed the general purpose of Related Employer rules, how they affect plan testing, and explained Affiliated Service Groups.   Why are the...

read more

Subscribe to receive our latest posts.


Articles posted on the ERISA Consultants Blog are provided for general informational purposes only. The materials and content are not intended to provide tax, legal, accounting, financial, or other professional advice. Readers are advised to seek out qualified professionals that provide advice for specific client circumstances. ERISA Consultants makes no warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in the published articles. While articles are generally published with the most up to date information, ERISA Consultants does not guarantee that the articles will be updated with the most recent information or reflect the most current laws and regulations. 

Third-party links included in any articles are not intended as, and should not be interpreted as, constituting or implying ERISA Consultants’ endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation of third-party information, products, or services, unless expressly stated otherwise. ERISA Consultants is not affiliated with the owners or participants of any linked websites. The opinions expressed by any guest writers and/or article sources are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent those of ERISA Consultants. Please use caution when linking to other websites.

Information from the ERISA Consultants blog should be used at your own risk. Investing in securities involves risk, and there is always the potential of losing money. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Investment returns vary and may involve gains or losses.

Any articles or commentary included on the ERISA Consultants blog do not constitute a tax advice and cannot be used by any taxpayer to avoid penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code on the taxpayer.