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Returning from active duty or TDY

Whether you’re a uniformed services member returning from active duty or TDY, or you’re a federal employee returning from TDY, there are a few things you need to know.

Your rights under USERRA

If you’re a uniformed services member returning from active duty or TDY, ensure you read the fact sheet TSP Benefits That Apply to Members of the Military Who Return to Federal Civilian Service to fully understand all of your rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Returning to the federal government after a break in service

If you’re returning to the federal government after a break in service, read Returning to the federal government about what you should do and consider regarding your TSP account.

Your account contributions

Ensure that your TSP contributions resume and are being deducted from your pay. This means that you may want to:

Decide whether you want to make up contributions to your civilian TSP account for the period of time you missed as a result of your military service (including contributions toward the catch-up limit if you are turning age 50 or older). Submit a written request to your agency within 60 days of the date of your reemployment or restoration to federal civilian service to make up your eligible missed TSP contributions. Contact your agency’s human resources office to request information on their procedures for processing USERRA claims. If you’re receiving tax-free pay, such as combat zone or hazardous duty pay, while on TDY, you may consider adjusting your contributions upon return to your regular pay. When you contribute that pay to Roth TSP (after-tax), the qualified earnings from your pay will also be tax-exempt when you withdraw them. However, you will still have to meet the current IRC maximum elective deferral limits.

Claiming your retroactive contributions1

If you’re a FERS employee, you may be eligible to claim retroactive matching contributions to your civilian account. You must have made contributions from basic pay to your uniformed services account while you were on nonpay performing military service or elected to make employee contributions when you returned from military service.

To receive retroactive contributions, make sure you: Keep your leave and earnings statements while you’re on active duty to make a claim. Bonus, special, and incentive pays are not eligible for retroactive matching contributions. Review your balance and transactions in your civilian TSP account while you were away. You can access your participant statements at My Account: Statements. If you’re covered by FERS, and your Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions and attributable earnings were removed from your account while you were in nonpay status, ask your agency to restore these funds.

  1. BRS members: Service Automatic (1%) and Matching Contributions you received while serving in the military will be deducted from restored agency contributions.

Your TSP loans

Be sure that your agency submits Form TSP-41, Notification to TSP of Nonpay Status, so that your loan payments will resume, and we will be notified that you have returned to pay status.

Notify us within 90 days of your return to civilian service if a taxable distribution was declared on your loan while you were on active military duty. This taxable distribution can be reversed.

Updating your beneficiary designation

If you’ve had any change in your personal situation that warrants changing your beneficiary designation, be sure to complete a new Form TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary. Remember that the TSP will not honor any other document for the distribution of your TSP account after your death. If you do not have a Designation of Beneficiary form on file with the TSP, your money will be distributed according to the legal order of precedence.

Returning to uniformed service

If you’re returning to the uniformed services, read Returning to uniformed service about what you should do and consider regarding your TSP account.