They are not required to withhold the 20% although...
Level 15

Retirement tax questions

They are not required to withhold the 20% although that is the norm.  And if you are over withheld the excess is refundable on your return. 

Rolling the funds to an IRA should be done by trustee to trustee transfer to avoid the withholding but be aware that you may get hit with some fees from the IRA trustee when you make distribution or if you clear the entire account. 

In the end both ways will net you the same in the end ... it is up to you how much effort you want to put forth.

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