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  • Starting in January 2021, we’re making the process easier for participants. If you’re turning 50 or older and are eligible for catch-up, you’ll no longer need to make separate catch-up elections to your TSP account. To learn how to make these contributions next year, visit Catch-up contributions.

Preparing for active duty or TDY

You have a lot to think about as you prepare to go on active duty. Whether you’re a federal or non-federal civilian employee, you can minimize problems that may arise regarding your TSP account if you take the following actions:

Federal civilian employees

Immediately inform your federal civilian agency that you have been called to perform active military service.

Employee contributions

Your employee contributions to your civilian TSP account (and Agency Contributions, if you’re FERS) will stop once you go into a nonpay status.

However, you can still contribute to your uniformed services account. It is a good idea to contribute a percentage of your basic pay, which entitles you to contribute a percentage of any incentive pay, special pay, or bonus pay.

TSP uniformed services account

Don’t have a uniformed services account yet? You may want to establish one by using your service’s electronic payroll system, for example, myPay, or by submitting Form TSP-U-1, Election Form, to your service.

Read TSP Benefits That Apply to Members of the Military Who Return to Federal Civilian Service to learn more.

TSP loans

Loan payments for your civilian account will stop because they come from payroll deductions. Also, you cannot make payments on that loan from your uniformed services pay. However, you can continue to make loan payments by sending in a personal check or money order to the TSP along with Form TSP-26, Loan Payment Coupon.

Ask your federal civilian agency to submit Form TSP-41, Notification to TSP of Nonpay Status. Once we receive it, we will suspend your loan payments until you return to your federal civilian job. However, there are other acceptable forms of documentation to notify the TSP.

Non-federal civilian employees

Confirm how much you have contributed to your employer’s defined contribution plan (e.g., 401(k), 403(a), 403(b), etc.) for the current tax year. If you plan to contribute from your uniformed services pay, this will help you determine the amount (in tax-deferred contributions) that you’ll be eligible to contribute to your uniformed services TSP account while on active duty.

Federal and non-federal civilian employees

Remember the basics

Give a power of attorney

Before you go on active duty, you can designate a power of attorney—an individual to serve as your agent in any business with the TSP. Your agent can be given very specific powers or unlimited power to act on your behalf. Use the Special Power of Attorney form to designate a power of attorney.

Review beneficiaries

If you’d like your TSP account paid out in the statutory order of precedence in the event of your death, it is not necessary to designate beneficiaries.

If you have designated beneficiaries on file with us, review, update, or change information, if necessary. We do not accept any other types of designations (such as wills).