Plan News was updated on January 9, 2019.

Government Shutdown and Loan Payments — (January 8, 2019) The TSP allows for the suspension of loan payments when you go into nonpay status to prevent your loan from going into default. Normally, we require documentation from your agency or service. However, the TSP does not need documentation of your furlough at this time. If your loan payments were up to date prior to the furlough, missing one or two payments will not cause your loan to be in default. You can check the status of your loan by logging into My Account, selecting “TSP Loans,” and then selecting “Are my payments up to date?” Or you can call the ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778 and speak to a Participant Service Representative.

As long as retroactive pay is approved, all missed loan payments will be submitted and posted to your loan. We will provide more information as the furlough continues or as events change.

Fourth quarter participant statements are online and in the mail — (January 8, 2019) Your fourth quarter 2018 participant statement, covering the period from October 1 through December 31, 2018, is now available in My Account. To receive email updates when new participant statements are available, sign up at “Email Updates” (under Quick Links) on the home page.

January Processing Schedule — (January 7, 2019)

  • January 21 — The financial markets will be closed on Monday, January 21, in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. The Thrift Savings Plan will also be closed. Transactions that would have been processed Monday night (January 21) will be processed Tuesday night (January 22) at Tuesday’s closing share prices.
  • Withdrawals processed after December 27 — Withdrawals processed the last two business days of December 2018 are considered taxable income for 2019, not 2018. The TSP will report them to you and to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on IRS Form 1099-R by January 31, 2020.

IRS Form 1099-R — (January 4, 2019) IRS Form 1099-R, Distribution from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., for tax year 2018 will be posted in My Account and mailed by January 31, 2019. Note that withdrawals processed after December 27 are considered taxable income for 2019 and will not be included on 2018 1099-Rs. Taxable distributions of loans are taxable in 2018 if made on or before December 31 and will be included on 2018 1099-Rs.

Government Shutdown — (December 22, 2018) The TSP will continue its normal daily operations during the federal government shutdown. Read the TSP fact sheet Effect of Nonpay Status on Your TSP Account to get answers to questions about the shutdown’s impact on TSP contributions, loans, and withdrawals. The fact sheet also emphasizes that your agency should not send Form TSP-41, Notification to TSP of Nonpay Status to the TSP during a federal government shutdown. A shutdown is a rare occurrence and is typically of short duration. Form TSP-41 is intended for participants who are being placed on extended leave without pay, e.g., for illness, military furlough, maternity leave.

Help for Hurricanes Florence and Michael victims — (December 4, 2018) The TSP has made a temporary change to the financial hardship withdrawal rules for participants affected by Hurricanes Florence or Michael: As of December 4, 2018, 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 Hurricanes Florence or Michael.
    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 Hurricanes Florence or Michael.

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. This form can be requested by calling the toll-free ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778.
  • You must check the “Personal Casualty Loss” box as the reason for requesting financial hardship.
  • You must write “Hurricane Florence” or “Hurricane Michael” at the top of page 1 above the name of the form.
  • Your request must be received in our office by March 5, 2019 and, in compliance with IRS guidelines, your distribution must occur before March 15, 2019. Any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request forms received after March 5, 2019 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's 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).

Changes coming to the Lifecycle (L) Funds — (November 29, 2018) We are planning adjustments to the L Funds in an effort to improve your investment outcomes. Effective in January 2019, we will increase exposure to international stocks (the I Fund) from 30% to 35% of the overall stock allocation in all L Funds. The L Income Fund stock allocation (C, S, and I Funds combined) will increase from 20% to 30% over a period of up to 10 years. The L 2030, L 2040, and L 2050 overall stock allocations will hold steady for a period of years before resuming their transitions from stocks to bonds. In addition to improving investment outcomes, this pause will align the L 2030, L 2040, and L 2050 Funds with the L 2060 Fund, which will be introduced in 2020 with an initial stock allocation of 99%. Visit Lifecycle Funds to learn more.

2019 Contribution limits — (November 7, 2018) 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 2019 have been announced. To learn more, visit “Contribution Limits.”

Current loan interest rate — (November 2, 2018) The interest rate on your TSP loan is the G Fund rate at the time your loan application is processed. The current rate is 3.125%. We are working to resolve a technical issue that may cause a different rate to show when using our Loan wizard. If you generated a loan agreement on or after November 2, 2018, be sure to check that the interest rate on your loan agreement is 3.125% before submitting.

Updated information about changes to TSP withdrawal options — (May 30, 2018) A fact sheet about planned improvements to TSP withdrawal options has been updated to provide more details about the TSP’s plans. Questions and Answers about Changes to TSP Withdrawal Options includes summaries of the changes coming in September 2019, in addition to background on the TSP Modernization Act of 2017, which mandates some of the new withdrawal options.

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.

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.