How the TSP fits into your retirement
If you’re covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), the TSP is one part of a three-part retirement package that also includes your FERS basic annuity and Social Security.
If you’re covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or are a member of the uniformed services, the TSP is a supplement to your CSRS annuity or military retired pay.
Not sure which retirement system you are covered under?
Check with your personnel or benefits office.
Most employees of the United States government are eligible to participate in the TSP. You are eligible if you’re any of the following:
- A FERS employee (generally if you were hired on or after January 1, 1984)
- A CSRS employee (generally if you were hired before January 1, 1984 and did not convert to FERS)
- A member of the uniformed services (active duty or Ready Reserve)
- A civilian in certain other categories of government service
In addition to being covered by an eligible retirement system, you must also be
- actively employed by the federal government as a civilian employee or as a member of the uniformed services,
- in a pay status in order to contribute, and
- working full- or part-time.
Establishing your TSP account
If you’re a FERS employee hired after July 31, 2010, your agency has automatically enrolled you in the TSP and 3% of your basic pay is deducted each pay period and deposited in the traditional balance of your TSP account. You also receive Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions that you’re entitled to keep after you meet the vesting requirement.
If you’re a FERS employee hired before August 1, 2010, you already have a TSP account with accruing Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions. In addition, you can choose to make contributions to your account from your pay and receive Agency Matching Contributions.
To make a contribution election, use your agency’s electronic payroll system (e.g., Direct Access, Employee Express, EBIS, LiteBlue, myPay, and NFC EPP.) or complete and submit Form TSP-1, Election Form.
Your automatic enrollment in the TSP begins after 60 days of service. At that time your service begins deducting 3% of your basic pay each pay period from your paycheck and deposits it into the traditional balance of your TSP account.
If you served fewer than 12 years as of December 31, 2017, and you chose to join BRS during calendar year 2018, you have a TSP account with accruing Agency/Service Automatic (1%) Contributions. To start contributing your own money, you have to make a contribution election through your service. Follow the instructions in Start, change, or stop contributions.
If you’re a member of the uniformed services who is not covered by the Blended Retirement System (BRS), your TSP account is established by your service after you make a contribution election using your service’s electronic payroll system (typically myPay for Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Direct Access for Coast Guard and NOAA Corps), or complete and submit Form TSP-U-1, Election Form.
If you’re a FERS or CSRS employee rehired after July 31, 2010, your agency has automatically enrolled you in the TSP, and 3% of your basic pay is deducted from your paycheck each pay period and deposited in the traditional balance of your TSP account.
If you were already in the Blended Retirement System (BRS) before you left the service—whether as a new member of the uniformed services or an opt-in—you will be automatically reenrolled when you reenter. If you were not in the BRS but had fewer than 12 years of service when you left, your service may give you the opportunity to opt in when you reenter. In either case, assuming you had served 60 days before leaving, your enrollment will begin with the first pay period after reentering. If neither situation applies to you, you can still start a TSP account or resume contributing to your existing account as a non-BRS member. Follow the instructions in Start, change, or stop contributions.