Resources

Forms:

  • TSP-70, Request for Full Withdrawal


Annuity Types

 

The TSP, through its annuity provider, offers the following annuity options:

  • Single life annuity
  • Joint life annuity with your spouse or with someone other than your spouse

Single Life Annuity

A single life annuity is an annuity that provides a monthly benefit or amount only to you for as long as you live. It ceases to pay after your death.

Joint Life Annuity

A joint life annuity is an annuity that provides a monthly benefit or amount to you while you and the person with whom you choose to share your annuity (your "joint annuitant") are alive. When either you or your joint annuitant dies, the annuity will continue to pay monthly to the survivor for the rest of his or her life.

In most cases, participants choose their spouse as the joint annuitant. If you choose someone other than your spouse as your joint annuitant, he or she must be either a former spouse or someone with an insurable interest in you. This means that the person is financially dependent on you and could reasonably expect to derive financial benefit from your continued life. Blood relatives or adopted relatives (but not relatives by marriage) who are closer than first cousins are presumed to have an insurable interest in you.

The amount of the monthly payment while you and your joint annuitant are alive and the amount of the payment to the survivor depend on whether you choose a 100 percent or a 50 percent annuity.

100 Percent Survivor Annuity.   The amount of the monthly annuity payment to the survivor is the same as the annuity payment made while you and your joint annuitant are alive.

50 Percent Survivor Annuity.   The amount of the monthly payment to the survivor — whether the survivor is you or your joint annuitant — is cut to 50% of the monthly annuity payment made while both you and your joint annuitant are alive. For example, if your monthly annuity payment is $600 while both you and your joint annuitant are alive, it will be reduced by half, to $300 per month, when either you or your joint annuitant dies.

If you name a joint annuitant other than your spouse who is more than 10 years younger than you, you must choose a joint life annuity with the 50 percent survivor benefit.

For more information about joint annuitants, refer to the Annuities section of the TSP booklet Withdrawing Your TSP Account After Leaving Federal Service. It is available on this website or through the ThriftLine.


Annuity Payment Options

 

Once you have chosen either a single life or a joint life annuity, you must decide whether you want to receive level or increasing payments. Review these carefully to select the options and features that best suit your needs.

Level Payments

If you choose level payments, the amount of the monthly annuity payment remains the same from year to year.

Increasing Payments

If you choose increasing payments, the amount of the monthly annuity payment can change each year on the anniversary date of the first payment. The amount of the change is based on the change in inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI).

Increases in your monthly payment cannot exceed 3% per year (even if the CPI is greater than 3%), but the monthly annuity payments cannot decrease.

Be aware that for this option, when the annuity payments start, they will be smaller than they would have been if you had selected level payments, but they can potentially increase every year.

You can choose increasing payments when you select a single life annuity or a joint life annuity with spouse. You cannot choose increasing payments when the joint annuitant is not your spouse.

Providing for Beneficiaries

 

Two additional features are available to you if you want to provide payments to the beneficiary, or beneficiaries, you name in the annuity section of your TSP withdrawal form. Keep in mind that when you choose additional features, your monthly annuity payments will be less than they would have been had you not chosen any.

Cash Refund

If you (and your joint annuitant, if applicable) die before the amount of your TSP balance used to purchase your annuity has been paid out, the remaining amount will be paid to your beneficiary, or beneficiaries, in a lump sum.

You can add this feature if you purchase a single life or a joint life annuity, and with level or increasing payments.

Ten-Year Certain

If you die before receiving annuity payments for a 10-year period, your monthly annuity payments will continue to your named beneficiary, or beneficiaries, until the 10-year period is met. If you live beyond the 10-year period, you will continue to receive payments, but no annuity payments will be made to your beneficiaries when you die.

You can add the ten-year certain feature if you purchase a single life annuity with either level or increasing payments. You cannot choose this option if you purchase a joint life annuity.


Summary of TSP Annuity Options and Features

 
Single Life Joint Life with Spouse* Joint Life with Other Survivor
Level
Payments
Increasing
Payments
Level
Payments
Increasing
Payments
Level
Payments
with no additional features with no additional features 100% survivor annuity 100% survivor annuity 100% survivor annuity**
or or or or or
with cash refund feature with cash refund feature 50% survivor annuity 50% survivor annuity 50% survivor annuity
or or or or or
with 10-year certain feature with 10-year certain feature 100% survivor annuity with cash refund 100% survivor annuity with cash refund 100% survivor annuity with cash refund**
or or or
50% survivor annuity with cash refund 50% survivor annuity with cash refund 50% survivor annuity with cash refund
*A married FERS or uniformed services participant must obtain his or her spouse's waiver of the spouse's survivor annuity benefit if an option is chosen other than Joint Life with Spouse, with level payments and 50% survivor annuity.
**Available if joint annuitant is not more than 10 years younger than the participant.