Frequently asked questions
How you change your address with us depends on whether or not you still work for the federal government.
If you’re currently a federal employee, report your correct address to your agency. We can’t accept address changes directly from you.
If you’re an active member of the Air Force, Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, you can update your address through the myPay website. Just make sure that you log in and go to the TSP section to change your TSP address. If you change it in the “Correspondence Address” section of myPay, it will not change your TSP address. Members of the Coast Guard and NOAA Corps can use Direct Access. Select “Home and Mailing Address” under Tasks, then choose “TSP” from the drop-down menu next to “Address Type.”
If you’re no longer a federal employee or uniformed services member, visit My Account: Profile Settings to change the address. Or while you’re logged in, use our Change in Address for Separated Participants, Form TSP-9, and fax or mail it to us.
To change or validate your contact information such as your phone number or email address, visit My Account: Profile Settings.
In most cases, you’ll use your agency’s or service’s electronic payroll system to start, change, or stop your TSP contributions. For example, civilian payroll systems include Employee Express, EBIS, LiteBlue, myPay, or NFC EPP. Uniformed services can use myPay (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps) or Direct Access (Coast Guard and NOAA Corps).
If your agency or service accepts the paper form, download and complete the Form TSP-1, Election Form (or Form TSP-U-1 for uniformed services members), or call the ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778 and choose option 3 to have it mailed to you.
Starting in the year you turn 50, you become eligible to save even more by contributing toward the catch-up limit.
Here’s what you should know:
- Once you exceed the elective deferral or annual addition limit, your contributions will spill over and automatically start counting toward the catch-up limit.
- Contributions spilling over toward the catch-up limit will qualify for the match on up to 5% of your salary.
- Separate catch-up elections are no longer required. Your election will carry over each year unless you submit a new election or leave federal service.
- You may start, stop, or change your contributions at any time.
If you are a uniformed services member and enter a combat zone, your contributions toward the catch-up limit must be Roth. (The TSP cannot accept traditional tax-exempt contributions toward the catch-up limit.) You also cannot contribute toward the catch-up limit from incentive pay, special pay, or bonus pay.
If you are contributing to both a civilian and uniformed services account, the limits apply to the total you contribute to both accounts during the year.
To contribute toward the catch-up limit, use Form TSP-1, Election Form (or Form TSP-U-1 for uniformed services), or your agency’s or service’s electronic system (e,g., Employee Express, EBIS, LiteBlue, myPay, or NFC Employee Personal Page). You can add any contributions toward the catch-up limit in the same place as your other TSP contributions. Remember, separate catch-up elections are not required.
You may be able to reset your password online.
If you successfully complete the entire loan process online and are approved, you’ll receive your money within 7–10 business days in the form of a check mailed to the address we have on file for you. You will not have the option of receiving your money by electronic funds transfer (EFT).
If you submitted a paper loan agreement, your request make take several weeks to process.
For participants who received a withdrawal or other taxable distribution during the calendar year, 1099-Rs are mailed by January 31 each year, and electronic versions are available online the first week of February in My Account: Statements.
You can check My Account or call the ThriftLine to find out the status of your withdrawal request, including whether the payment has been made. We’ll also notify you after your payment has been disbursed. It generally takes between 7 to 10 business days to process your request once you’ve properly completed and submitted it. We disburse withdrawals each business day.
Private parties offering assistance with your TSP account have not been approved, endorsed, sponsored, or authorized by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the independent federal government agency that administers the TSP.
If you’re unsure whether correspondence or telephone calls claiming to be from the TSP are authentic, DO NOT provide any personal or financial information. Contact us directly at 1-877-968-3778 and choose option 3 to speak to a Participant Service Representative if you have questions or if you need to report any suspicious activity involving your TSP account.
Learn more about how to protect your TSP account.
No, you cannot make loan payments online. When we pay out your loan, we will notify your payroll office immediately to begin deducting loan payments from your salary each pay period.
Check your leave and earnings statement to be sure that loan payments have started and that they are in the correct amount. Contact your agency or service if payments have not started or if they’re in the wrong amount.
Be aware that you’re responsible for the repayment of your loan regardless of whether your agency or service misses a payment. Additional information is available under Repaying Your Loan.
Yes, you can leave your entire account balance in the TSP when you leave federal service if the balance is $200 or more. You can continue to enjoy tax-deferred earnings and low administrative expenses. Once you separate, you will no longer be able to make employee contributions. However, you can transfer money into your TSP account from IRAs (although not from Roth IRAs) and eligible employer plans. Your account will continue to accrue earnings, and you can continue to change the way your money is invested in the TSP investment funds by making interfund transfers.
To change which fund(s) you invest in, there are two transactions you can make:
A contribution allocation tells us how you want to invest NEW money coming into your account. An interfund transfer (IFT) allows you to change the way money ALREADY in your account is invested. You are allowed two IFTs in a calendar month. After that, you can only transfer money into the G Fund.
In the event of your death, your TSP account would be distributed this way:
- To your spouse
- If none, to your child or children equally, and to the descendants of deceased children
- If none, to your parents equally or to your surviving parent
- If none, to the appointed executor or administrator of your estate
- If none, to your next of kin who is entitled to your estate under the laws of the state you lived in at the time of your death
For most people, this is the best option because it accounts for life changes like births, deaths, divorce, or marriage that may happen after you open your account.
If you’d like to make an exception, you may complete Form TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary. The easiest way to do this is to use the online tool, which you’ll find by logging in here: My Account: Beneficiaries.
Don’t remember whether you’ve submitted a Designation of Beneficiary or you’re not sure who you named as your beneficiaries? Look at your annual statement, check the online tool, or call the ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778.
TSP web pages and documents are best viewed with one of the following browsers:
- Internet Explorer 11 (compatibility view disabled)
Older browsers often cannot support modern web standards and, in some cases, have been known to cause distortion of the information on the screen.
Note: For all browsers listed above, we recommend using the current version with auto update enabled.
Your TSP annual and quarterly statements provide a snapshot of your account activity. It’s important to review them thoroughly each time you receive them to identify any errors or unauthorized activity, and to see if you’re on track to meet your savings goals.
Here are a few terms you might come across when looking at your TSP statements:
Adjustments—The net amount of reversals of certain transactions.
Excess Deferrals—A contribution that exceeds the elective deferral limit in a particular year.
Forfeitures—FERS and BRS employees who leave federal service before they are vested in the TSP forfeit the Agency/Service Automatic (1%) Contributions and earnings on those contributions. If a forfeiture occurs because of agency payroll error, the affected participant is entitled to have those forfeited funds restored to his or her TSP account.
In-Service Withdrawals—If you’re an active federal employee or a member of the uniformed services, you can make two types of in-service withdrawals from your TSP account: financial hardship and age-based. Read more about making In-Service Withdrawals.
Loan Disbursements—An amount removed proportionally from any traditional (non-Roth) and Roth balances in your account. Similarly, if you are a uniformed services member with tax-exempt contributions in your traditional balance, your loan will contain a proportional amount of tax-exempt contributions as well. If your TSP account is invested in more than one fund, your loan is deducted proportionally from the employee contributions (and earnings on those contributions) that you have in each fund.
Redesignations—Contributions that have been removed from your traditional balance and put in your Roth balance, and vice versa, to correct agency or service contribution submission errors.
Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)—The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) requires that you receive a portion of your TSP account beginning in the calendar year when you become age 72 and are separated from service. The portion is called a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). Learn more about RMDs.
Transfers/Rollovers—Money coming into your TSP account from an eligible retirement plan, or from a TSP-to-TSP transfer when you combine uniformed services and civilian TSP accounts. Transfers out of the TSP would be shown as “Post-Separation” or “In-Service” withdrawals.
Vesting—Being “vested” means you’re entitled to keep all of the money in your account. Vesting only applies to Agency/Service Automatic (1%) Contributions (and their earnings) and occurs after you work in the federal government or uniformed services for a certain number of years. Read more about vesting.
If you have questions, call us on the ThriftLine. We’re here to help.