Hardship withdrawals must be taken to alleviate “immediate and heavy” financial need according to the IRS. Some examples of eligible hardships are: medical bills, a down payment for a new home, college tuition, rent, mortgage, funeral, and home repair expenses. Generally, withdrawals from 401(k) accounts are not permitted until the age of 59 ½ without penalty but if you qualify, you may be exempt. No one is permitted to take out any amount exceeding that required to satisfy a financial need. In order to begin the process of a 401(k) Hardship Withdrawal, you will need to talk to your plan sponsor.