To be eligible for hardship retirement, you must have an immediate and significant financial need that cannot be met by any other reasonably available asset. This includes other liquid investments, savings, and other distributions that qualify for your 401 (k) plan. To qualify for a 401 (k) retirement due to financial difficulties, you must have a 401 (k) plan that allows you to make withdrawals due to economic difficulties. Employers are not required to allow withdrawals due to economic difficulties, so access may vary from plan to plan.
Contact your plan administrator to find out if your plan allows for hardship withdrawals. The IRS also says that withdrawals due to economic difficulties are only an option if you can't reasonably get money from another source. If you have a 401 (k) account through your employer, one option you may have available is to apply for a 401 (k) loan for economic difficulties or to use a 401 (k) retirement for economic difficulties to help finance some of those expenses.