If your vested Plan account balance is $5,000 or less, your benefits automatically will be paid to you as soon as possible after your termination of employment. This distribution will be paid to you in a lump sum, or if you choose, will be paid as a direct roll over.
or maybe the following instructions on a related document--
You must complete this entire form to receive a distribution from XYZ after you terminate employment. You should read the “Special Tax Notice Regarding Plan Payments” BEFORE you complete the form. NOTE: If you do not complete and return this form within 30 days AND your vested balance is $5,000 or less a lump sum payment will be made to you less 20% for tax withholding.
And let's say the documents arrived just a few mere days before the 30 days were up. Would you-
A) fill out all the forms and send it in, getting them in after the 30 days were up?
B) not see the point in filling out 11 pages of paperwork when the 30 days were nearly up?
C) expected to see this email 45 days after you terminated employment, having chosen option B, asked about the situation very politely-
No distribution occurs without the completed paperwork. There is no 30-day deadline. The 401(k) is paid the quarter following receipt of the completed paperwork.
So I guess that means "as soon as possible" is the same as "the quarter following," (anyone know if that means just after the end of the first quarter this month? or does that mean sometime after the second quarter in July?) And that part about returning forms within 30 days was just to see if we could count that high?
Seriously, people, there's a reason I left that job.