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Annual Participant Notice Access and Delivery Requirements

Each year plan sponsors will be required to distribute disclosure notices for their qualified retirement plans. These notice can be distributed via hard copy or electronic meeting specific DOL and IRS requirements. Your plan design will dictate the notices included in the package. Commonly seen notices will include:

  1. 404a5 Participant Fee Disclosure
  2. Safe Harbor Notice
  3. Qualified Default Investment Notice (QDIA)
  4. Automatic Enrollment Notice

These notices must be distributed Annually 30 days prior to the plan year, but no more than 90 days prior. 

Delivery Requirements

The notices are required to be distributed to all eligible employees, and former employees who have a balance. Notices may be distributed as hard copy paper or electronic delivery (if specific requirements are met). For more information if your firm qualifies for eDelivery, please see our additional resources:

Sentinel Notice Fulfillment Options

Need help in meeting your annual notice obligations? Sentinel can assist in the distribution!

To fulfill your notice delivery obligation, you have three options.

  1. Utilize Sentinel’s mailing fulfillment solution
  2. Mail notices to Participants
  3. Email to active Participants and mail to inactive Participants with balances

Option 1: Sentinel’s mailing fulfillment solution

Sentinel’s service combines all the documents you are responsible for into one convenient package and then mails it directly to your Participant’s homes at their address on file. There is an additional cost for this service which can be found in your services agreement or by contacting your Plan Consultant. More details regarding Sentinel’s Fulfillment Solution can be found here: 


What’s new for 2020? We will include an Initial Notice of Electronic Delivery within the package. This is an opportunity to notify participants of eDelivery so that we can offer you delivery flexibility on future notices.

Note: If you have elected to have Sentinel fulfill your notices every year, this option will apply to you.

Option 2: Mail notices to Participants

Distribute the Annual Notice Package to Participants on your own. You will be notified when the Annual Notice Package is posted to your Employer web portal. We have made two versions of the Participant mailing details available to you through the ‘Statements, Forms & Reports’ menu under the ‘Data Export Reports’ group.

  1. 1. Participant Demographic Data: Exportable to Excel for ease of use to mail merge and deliver notices.
  2. 2. eDelivery Initial Notice: Exportable to PDF or Word and contains mailing information along with notification of future eDelivery options. Including the eDelivery Initial Notice in your package will allow you delivery flexibility on future notices.

Option 3: Email to active, mail to Inactive Participants

Email your Annual Notices to active Participant’s work email addresses and mail copies of the notices to your terminated participants who have an account balance. Utilization of this option falls under the 2002 eDelivery DOL rules. This option is only available to you if your active participants are “wired at work,” meaning they have access to email as part of their day-to-day job. Unless you have collected consent from terminated participants to provide disclosures electronically to their personal emails, you must provide them with a mailed copy of the notices. The Participant Demographic Data report is available for download in Excel from the Sentinel Employer web portal ‘Statements, Forms & Reports’ menu under the ‘Data Export Reports’ group. This report is designed to help you with your notice delivery.

For more information on the services or to sign up for the service please visit our fulfillment page or contact your Sentinel plan representative: