Protecting America’s Retirement Security Act would Require Spousal Consent for making Distributions from 401k Plans including Solo 401k Plans

Introduced by Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA) on March 31, 2022, The Protecting America’s Retirement Security Act (H.R. 7310)  The legislation “takes important steps to help Americans plan and save for a dignified retirement,” said Committee Chairman Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) in a press release.

Spousal Protection

The bill proposes fee disclosure improvements, increasing spousal protections, and automatic reenrollment for defined contributions plans.

The highlight of the proposed bill would be the requirement of spousal consent before making distributions from qualified plans such as traditional 401k plan and solo 401k plans. A new section to Section 205 would be added to ERISA requiring meeting certain spousal consent requirements such as the following:

Provide in writing the spouse’s rights before making the 401k distribution.

The spouse of the participant would have to sign off consenting to the 401k distribution and to the change in beneficiary.


As with most regulations, there are some exceptions to the proposed spousal consent provisions including the following would not apply to distributions or to the change in beneficiary:

  • there is no spouse,
  • the participant and the participant’s spouse have not been married for at least one year as of the date of the distribution or designation or change of beneficiary, or
  • such consent cannot be obtained because: (1) the spouse cannot be located after taking documented search efforts in accordance with guidance from the Secretary of Labor; (2) there are exceptional circumstances that require the participant to seek the spouse’s consent would be inappropriate; or (3) due to other circumstances regulations prescribe.


About Mark Nolan

Each day I speak with energetic entrepreneurs looking to take the plunge into a new venture and small business owners eager to take control of their retirement savings. I am passionate about helping others find their financial independence. Having worked for over 20 years with some of the top retirement account custodian and insurance companies I have a deep and extensive knowledge of the complexities of self-directed 401ks and IRAs as well as retirement plan regulations. Learn more about Mark Nolan and My Solo 401k Financial >>

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