Plan News was updated on February 20, 2018.

ThriftLine Delays — (February 20, 2018) Due to high call volume, you may experience delays when calling the ThriftLine. We appreciate your patience.

Information about changes to TSP withdrawal options — (February 8, 2018) A fact sheet about planned improvements to TSP withdrawal options is now available. Questions and Answers about Changes to TSP Withdrawal Options provides background on the TSP Modernization Act and lays out plans for implementing the law along with other related improvements. Planned changes will give TSP participants more ways of withdrawing their money. The fact sheet will be updated as more details of the plan are finalized.

Stick to Your Plan — (February 6, 2018) The stock and bond markets can change rapidly. By the time you react to the situation, the market may be moving in the opposite direction, and you could miss out on significant gains. Remember that investing for retirement is for the long-term. Try not to let short-term market movements steer you off course. To learn more, visit Investment Strategy: Stick to Your Plan.

Annual participant statements — (February 6, 2018) Your annual 2017 participant statement, covering the period from January 1 through December 31, 2017, is now available in My Account. To receive e-mail updates when new participant statements are available, sign up at “Email Updates” (under Quick Links) on the home page.

Peak ThriftLine Call Times — (January 29, 2018) Our highest call volume is on Monday and Tuesday mornings. If you want to minimize your wait time to speak to a Participant Services Representative, consider calling outside of those peak hours. Participant Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., eastern time.

IRS Form 1099-R — (January 24, 2018) The TSP has mailed IRS Form 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., to participants who received a withdrawal up to December 27, 2017, and/or a taxable distribution of a loan up to December 29, 2017. (Taxable distributions declared on December 28 and 29 are taxable income for 2018.) If you have not received Form 1099-R by mid-February, you can print out a copy from My Account. Corrected Forms 1099-R will be issued late February/early March. If you are expecting a corrected Form 1099-R, you may wish to wait to file your taxes until you receive the form.

New and revised BRS materials available — (January 1, 2018) The Thrift Savings Plan has created a new video called “The TSP for BRS Members: What’s It All About?” to give an overview of the Thrift Savings Plan to uniformed services members covered by the new Blended Retirement System (BRS). The TSP has also released two new booklets designed to help members manage their accounts: Managing Your Account for Members of the Uniformed Services and Managing Your Account for Civilian Federal Employees. These replace the Managing Your Account booklet that covered both civilian and uniformed services. Many other TSP publications and web pages have been revised to reflect policies that have changed with the advent of BRS.

Beginning January 1, 2018, all new members of the uniformed services will be enrolled in BRS. Members with fewer than 12 years of service by December 31, 2017, are also eligible to enroll in the new system. Those who are eligible for BRS and have not decided whether to join should see the video “Opting into the Blended Retirement System (BRS)” and the fact sheet Questions and Answers about Opting into the Blended Retirement System (BRS). The new video and others designed to educate members on the TSP can be found at youtube.com/tsp4gov.

TSP Withdrawal Options Bill Becomes Law — (November 20, 2017) On November 17, 2017, President Trump signed into law the TSP Modernization Act of 2017, which will provide TSP participants with more flexible withdrawal options. The law eliminates the statutory prohibition on multiple post-separation withdrawals and multiple age-based withdrawals while a participant is still working. It also removes the restriction that participants cannot take partial post-separation withdrawals if they’ve already taken an age-based in-service withdrawal. Though it has no effect on required minimum distributions mandated by the Internal Revenue Code, the law also allows separated participants who are over age 70½ to remain in the TSP, eliminating the requirement to make a withdrawal election on an entire account balance. Participants will also be able to stop monthly payments, change payment frequency, or elect to purchase an annuity while receiving monthly payments.

The Executive Director of the FRTIB has the authority to establish parameters regarding this new ability to take multiple withdrawals, and the law gives the FRTIB up to two years to make the regulatory and operational changes necessary to enact these changes.

Help for California wildfires victims — (November 6, 2017) The TSP has made a temporary change to the financial hardship withdrawal rules for participants affected by the recent wildfires in California: As of November 6, 2017, we will treat any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request as a qualifying hardship and will waive the rule prohibiting employee contributions for 6 months after taking a hardship withdrawal provided one of the following is true:

  1. Your primary residence or place of employment is located in a covered disaster area and has incurred a loss as a result of the California wildfires.
    OR
  2. Your hardship withdrawal will be used to assist an eligible family member who lives or works in a covered disaster area and who has incurred a loss as a result of the California wildfires.

IN ADDITION, you must also meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must be actively employed as a federal civilian or a member of the uniformed services.
  • You must complete Form TSP-76, Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request.
  • You must write “California wildfires” at the top of page 1 above the name of the form.
  • You must check the “Personal Casualty Loss” box on page 2, Item 18 of your request form, as the reason for requesting financial hardship.
  • Your request must be received in our office by March 8, 2018 and, in compliance with IRS guidelines, your distribution must occur before March 15, 2018. Any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request forms received after March 8, 2018 will be processed as a standard hardship withdrawal, and your TSP contributions will automatically stop for 6 months.

If you want to stop your TSP contributions, complete Form TSP-1, Election Form (Form TSP-U-1 for uniformed services) or use your agency or service’s automated system.

This rule change is not retroactive and all other Form TSP-76 rules apply. Participants may only receive one hardship withdrawal under this change. If you have questions about this change, call the toll-free ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778. Outside the U.S. and Canada, please call 404-233-4400 (not toll free).

Help for Hurricane Maria victims **Updated – Extended Deadline** — (November 6, 2017) The TSP has made a temporary change to the financial hardship withdrawal rules for participants affected by Hurricane Maria: As of October 4, 2017, we will treat any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request as a qualifying hardship and will waive the rule prohibiting employee contributions for 6 months after taking a hardship withdrawal provided one of the following is true:

  1. Your primary residence or place of employment is located in a covered disaster area and has incurred a loss as a result of Hurricane Maria.
    OR
  2. Your hardship withdrawal will be used to assist an eligible family member who lives or works in a covered disaster area and who has incurred a loss as a result of Hurricane Maria.

IN ADDITION, you must also meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must be actively employed as a federal civilian or a member of the uniformed services.
  • You must complete Form TSP-76, Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request.
  • You must write “Hurricane Maria” at the top of page 1 above the name of the form.
  • You must check the “Personal Casualty Loss” box on page 2, Item 18 of your request form, as the reason for requesting financial hardship.
  • Your request must be received in our office by March 8, 2018 and, in compliance with IRS guidelines, your distribution must occur before March 15, 2018. Any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request forms received after March 8, 2018 will be processed as a standard hardship withdrawal, and your TSP contributions will automatically stop for 6 months.

If you want to stop your TSP contributions, complete Form TSP-1, Election Form (Form TSP-U-1 for uniformed services) or use your agency or service’s automated system.

This rule change is not retroactive and all other Form TSP-76 rules apply. Participants may only receive one hardship withdrawal under this change. If you have questions about this change, call the toll-free ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778. Outside the U.S. and Canada, please call 404-233-4400 (not toll free).

2018 Contribution Limits — (October 25, 2017) The Internal Revenue Code places specific limits on the amount that you can contribute to employer-sponsored plans like the TSP each year. The limits for 2018 have been announced. To learn more, visit “Contribution Limits.”

You May Now Reset Your TSP Password Online — (August 31, 2017) We’re pleased to announce that you may now reset your password online. If you forget or lose your password, go to the My Account section of tsp.gov, click on “Forgot your password?,” and follow the prompts. If you know your password and want to change it, log into My Account, visit “Profile Settings,” and click on “Change Your Password.” You can also call the ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778 and press option 3 to speak to a Participant Service Representative.