ERISA. The Employee Retirement and Income Security Act. Federal.
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401k plans are governed by ERISA, the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It governs 401k plans, defined benefit pensions, health care plans and several other benefit plans.
I strongly doubt your former employer is trying to make it difficult for you to exit the plan since they pay some or all of the administrative costs of keeping you in the plan. However, they can only permit you to obtain a distribution if the distribution follows the plan rules. That means you must be eligible for distribution at this time and you have followed the plan's procedure to request the distribution.
If you are having difficulty getting the rollover complete you should ask to speak to a supervisor wherever you are calling to request the rollover.