Traditionally, you cannot take an early withdrawal (before age 59 ½) without having to pay income tax and a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the amount withdrawn. There are, however, certain expenses that may allow for early withdrawal of IRA monies without imposition of the 10% penalty (though you will still have to pay income tax on any such withdrawals). These types of qualifying expenses may include large medical bills, health insurance, higher education, a first home, and many more. Although an IRA should by no means be used for menial expenses, if you are facing a real emergency in your life, you may simply need to make an early withdrawal from your IRA to help you through that difficult time in your life.
Of course, if you are considering taking a withdrawal to pay for ongoing medical expenses, it is best to consult with an experienced elder law attorney– you may qualify for government assistance which could help cover these expenses.
To learn more about making early withdrawals from your IRA without penalty, go here.