Updated September 17, 2020.
You can check this page for up-to-date details about TSP operations and temporary changes we’re making to support you during this time. The information we’re providing here is current but subject to change as we receive additional guidance and information.
Plan news and reminders related to COVID-19
- September 22 deadline for temporary loan increase
- Temporary acceptance of PIV and CAC signatures on TSP forms
- Restriction to be lifted on starting and restarting installment payments based on life expectancy
- Submitting certain forms online
- CARES Act temporary loan and withdrawal options
- Payments you make to the TSP by check may take longer to process
- Temporary changes to required minimum distributions
- Online transactions and secure messaging in My Account
- How to update your mailing address
- USPS temporarily suspends service to several countries
September 22 deadline for temporary loan increase
The CARES Act allowed us to temporarily increase the maximum loan amount on general purpose loans for qualified individuals. If you plan to apply for a loan with the increased maximum, we must receive your completed application on or before September 22, 2020. The online application tool in My Account will come down at noon that day. We can accept signed loan agreements until midnight that night.
Temporary acceptance of PIV and CAC signatures on TSP forms
We will temporarily accept certain digital signatures on TSP forms in order to support participants in physical distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, you must use your unexpired U.S. federal personal identity verification (PIV) credentials or common access card (CAC) to sign your form before you submit it to us.
Restriction to be lifted on starting and restarting installment payments based on life expectancy
The FRTIB is permanently changing the rule that prevents you from starting installment payments based on life expectancy if you have previously received installment payments. Beginning in January 2021, all TSP participants who are eligible for installment payments may elect to receive payments based on life expectancy whether or not they previously started and then stopped installment payments. This means that if you are currently receiving life-expectancy payments, you may now stop them, knowing that you will be able to restart them next year. (You will not be able to restart them in 2020, but you can always use other withdrawal types for which you’re eligible.) This is a significant rule change, especially if you currently receive life-expectancy payments for the purpose of receiving required minimum distributions (RMDs) and want to temporarily suspend those payments while RMDs are waived in 2020. To do so, log in to My Account now and select Withdrawals and Changes to Installment Payments to stop your payments. To restart them in 2021, log in again and start a new transaction to request installment payments based on life expectancy. Please disregard any TSP materials that state the old rule, including instructions you may see when using the online tool to stop payments. We will update them as soon as possible.
Important Note: If you started receiving life-expectancy-based installment payments before the age of 55 and
- you are under age 59½ now
- it has been less than five years since your payments started,
then stopping your payments now could have tax consequences that are mandated by the Internal Revenue Code and are not eliminated by this FRTIB rule change. Visit irs.gov or consult a tax advisor for more information.
Submitting certain forms online
You may now submit certain TSP forms online by logging in to My Account and uploading a PDF copy of the form. You’ll find an up-to-date list of forms we accept online when you log in to My Account and select Upload Form from the menu. That section provides detailed instructions on how to prepare your file for upload.
You still have the option to mail or fax your completed form and supporting documentation to us. However, be sure to submit your form and documentation one time only. We will process the first submission we receive and cancel any subsequent forms of the same type.
The list of forms you can submit online may change at any time, so be sure to check the list in My Account before you begin preparing your file.
CARES Act temporary loan and withdrawal options
The temporary loan and withdrawal options for TSP participants affected by COVID-19 are now available. These options are authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This law also provides favorable tax treatment for other types of withdrawals you’re currently eligible for. Both the loan and withdrawal options are available to you only if you can certify that you meet certain CARES Act criteria and TSP eligibility rules.
Payments you make to the TSP by check may take longer to process
Because of public health precautions being taken at our processing facilities, payments made by check will most likely take longer to appear in your TSP account. These include payments to make up missed loan payments, submit additional loan payments, or to roll over payments from IRAs or other employer plans. We appreciate your patience.
Temporary changes to required minimum distributions
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a steep and sudden decline in the stock markets and put a severe strain on many household budgets. As authorized by the recently enacted CARES Act, we’re making temporary changes related to required minimum distributions.
Online transactions and secure messaging in My Account
We strongly encourage you to take steps right now to make sure you have online access to My Account. After you log in securely, you can send questions and requests to TSP representatives through the Message Center, and you can perform many TSP transactions on your own.
What you can do online in My Account
- Add and validate your email address(es) or cell phone.
- Access statements, documents, and correspondence.
- Change your contribution allocation to determine how your money gets invested.
- Rebalance your portfolio with interfund transfers.
- Begin a loan or withdrawal request and make changes to installment payments. (In certain circumstances, you can complete your entire request online.)
- View your account balance.
How to get help online through our Secure Message Center
- Log in to My Account.
- From the menu, select Message Center.
- Select the Messages tab.
- Select the Compose Message button.
A TSP representative will reply to your message within 2 business days.
When the response is available, you can log in to My Account and return to the Message Center to view it. You’ll also be able to submit a reply if you need additional help.
How to update your mailing address
If you’re actively employed, you must notify your agency or service when your address changes.
USPS temporarily suspends service to several countries
Please be advised that the U.S. Postal Service has temporarily suspended mail delivery service to several countries. Mail addressed to these countries will be returned to sender. If the mailing address we have on file for you is in one of the countries listed, we won’t be able to send you mail. You can view your account statements and notices when you log in to My Account. If you have concerns about receiving other types of TSP mail in these countries, please call the ThriftLine and speak to a TSP representative