Wife denied withdrawal of 401(k) funds to care for dying husband

August 9, 2021

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A couple in Grand Haven is cherishing their last few months together after a local Navy veteran developed cancer that has now spread throughout his entire body. The couple hoped to pull funds from a 401(k) plan to pay for his medical bills, but they were denied.

Michelle and Bill Colson met and were engaged two weeks later.

"We saw each other and went, 'Wow.' We knew that was it," Bill said.

The Colson's have been married for 33 years but are preparing to say goodbye as Bill fights an incurable cancer diagnosis. He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016, followed by renal cancer in 2018. Doctors believe Bill's time is running out as the cancer continues to spread throughout his body.

"So I have to live on day at a time and do the best I can with that," Bill said.

Michelle is Bill's primary caregiver and was granted time from work through the Family and Medical Leave Act, but she continues to work because otherwise, they couldn't afford to keep the household running.

"So that's why I'm still working," Michelle said. "So the times that I am not here, we do have a camera that's located above there that I tune in every hour. So I can check on him to make sure that he doesn't fall or anything, but I can't take care of his other needs."

In order to spend more time together, Michelle tried to withdraw funds from her 401(k) account, but her account holder said she didn't meet the criteria.

Michelle is putting out the message to others to read the fine print on your 401(k) policies. Meanwhile, Bill's advice is to live for today.

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