Outstanding Loans
If you have an outstanding loan at the time you separate, you should repay it; otherwise the IRS will declare it a taxable distribution. Before you can make a withdrawal, all loans must be closed and any court orders against your account must be resolved.
Use the monthly payment calculator to estimate:
  • How many monthly payments you'll receive when you choose a specific dollar amount, or
  • How much money you'll receive each month if you choose monthly payments based on life expectancy.
Keep in mind that investment gains or losses could cause your account balance to fluctuate, which could increase or reduce either the amount of your monthly payments or their duration. 
Proportional Distributions
Withdrawals are paid proportionally from your traditional and Roth balances, and from each TSP fund in which you have investments. If you are a uniformed services member with tax-exempt contributions in your traditional balance, your withdrawal will contain a proportional amount of tax-exempt contributions as well.

You have two options for withdrawing your TSP account after you leave Federal service. You may take a partial withdrawal or a full withdrawal.

Partial Withdrawals

A partial withdrawal allows you to make a one-time-only withdrawal and leave the rest of your money in the TSP until a later date. Use Form TSP-77, Request for Partial Withdrawal When Separated. It is available on this website or through the ThriftLine.

You can make a partial withdrawal under the following circumstances:

  • You have not made a prior partial withdrawal or have one that is currently pending, and
  • You did not make an age-based in-service withdrawal while you were still employed by the Federal Government or the uniformed services, and
  • You request $1,000 or more from your account.

Full Withdrawals

When you are ready to withdraw all of the money from your TSP account, you can do it all at once, over a period of time, or you can purchase an annuity that will make payments to you for life. For maximum flexibility, you can choose any combination of these full withdrawal options.

Full Withdrawal as a Single Payment

Choose the single payment option if you want to withdraw your entire account at one time. It is sometimes referred to as a "lump sum" payment.

Full Withdrawal as a Series of Monthly Payments

Choose monthly payments if you want to withdraw your entire account in a series of payments spread over time. The TSP offers two choices of monthly payment:

Specific Dollar Amount. You may request a specific dollar amount that you will receive each month until your entire TSP account has been paid out to you. The amount you request must be $25 or more.

Life Expectancy. You may request to have the TSP calculate your monthly payment for you using the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Life Expectancy Tables. Your first payment amount will be based on your age and your account balance at the time of the first payment. The TSP will recalculate your monthly payment every year.

Full Withdrawal as a Life Annuity

A life annuity is a monthly benefit paid to you for life. You can withdraw all or part of your TSP account as a life annuity as long as the amount used to purchase it is $3,500 or more. If you have both a traditional and a Roth balance, the $3,500 minimum threshold applies to each balance separately. The TSP will purchase your annuity(ies) for you from its provider. For information on the annuity options available to you, visit Annuities.

Make sure you don't confuse the TSP annuity that you can purchase as a full withdrawal option with the annuity that is part of your retirement package. The TSP annuity is not the basic annuity that you will receive when you retire as either a FERS or CSRS employee, or the retired pay that you receive as a member of the uniformed services.

Full Withdrawal as a Combination of Options

You can withdraw your entire account balance using a combination of any of the available full withdrawal options (single payment, monthly payments, or life annuity). Note that if you choose a life annuity as an option, the portion of your account balance used to purchase it must be at least $3,500. If you have both a traditional balance and a Roth balance in your account, this amount applies separately to each balance.

Tax-Exempt Balances for the Uniformed Services

If you have a uniformed services TSP account, it may include tax-exempt contributions in your traditional balance as a result of your having served in a combat zone. These contributions (but not the earnings on them) are exempt from Federal income taxes when they are distributed. The earnings on tax-exempt traditional contributions will be subject to tax at the time that you make a withdrawal.

Withdrawals from a uniformed services account will be made pro rata (i.e., proportionally) from taxable and nontaxable amounts.