590 Thrift Savings Plan

591 Overview

591.1 Description

591.11 Administration

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees. It was authorized by Congress in the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986. The plan is administered by an independent government agency, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, whose sole purpose is to operate the plan for the benefit of the participants. Policies and regulations of the board are controlling in the event of conflict with the information contained in this subchapter.

591.12 Further Information

TSP has established a TSP Web Site at http://www.tsp.gov to provide employees with general information, forms, and publications. Two telephone response systems are available for general information as well as personal account information. The TSP ThriftLine at (504) 255–8777 is an automated voice response system, and the Text Telephone at (504) 255–5113 is designed for hearing impaired employees. The TSPBK08, Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal Employees, and other TSP materials are available at local personnel services offices and on the Web site.

591.2 Open Season

Open season is the period during which employees may make an election with respect to the TSP.

  1. There are two open seasons each year.
  2. Each open season lasts for 2 and 1/2 months with the election period being the last month of the open season.
  3. Open seasons are from May 15 through July 31 and from November 15 through January 31.

591.3 Eligibility to Contribute

591.31 General

All career employees are permitted to contribute to the TSP. The earliest date career employees may begin contributing is determined by their date of employment.

591.32 New Career Employees

A career employee is eligible to make an election to begin contributing to TSP beginning with the second open season after the career appointment. An employee who is hired during an open season, but before the election period, has the current open season counted as one of the required two. For example:

  1. Career employees hired from January 1 through June 30 are first eligible to make an election during the open season from the following November 15 through January 31.
  2. Career employees hired from July 1 through December 31 are first eligible to make an election during the open season from the following May 15 through July 31.
591.33 Rehired Employees

A career employee who is reemployed and who was eligible to contribute to the TSP during a previous appointment may make an election during the first open season after being reemployed. An employee rehired to a career position who was not eligible to contribute during a previous appointment is treated as a new employee. For example:

  1. Previously eligible employees rehired as career employees from January 1 through June 30 may make an election that July.
  2. Previously eligible career employees rehired as career employees from July 1 through December 31 may make an election that January.
591.34 Reemployed Annuitants
591.341 Eligibility

Reemployed annuitants are eligible to participate in TSP as follows:

  1. CSRS reemployed annuitants may participate regardless of the retirement code in the reemployed position (Code 1, 5, 4 or 2), unless reemployed under Public Law 101-509 (Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990).
  2. FERS reemployed annuitants may participate only if reemployed under FERS. Appointments to intermittent positions or under Public Law 101-509 are not covered by FERS.
  3. A reemployed annuitant’s first eligible date to participate is determined by whether the reemployment follows a TSP break in service (separation from federal service of 31 or more full calendar days), as follows:
    1. If no break in service of 31 days or more has occurred, the TSP–1 election on file is immediately effective, with contributions and loan payments, if any, resuming upon reemployment. For FERS annuitants, the automatic 1 percent contribution and matching contributions, if any, resume.
    2. If a break in service of 31 days or more has occurred and the reemployed annuitant was ever previously eligible to participate in TSP, the reemployed annuitant is eligible to make an election during the first open season following the appointment. If not previously eligible, the reemployed annuitant must wait until the second open season following the appointment to make an election.
    3. A reemployed annuitant who elects to transfer to FERS is eligible to participate in TSP immediately, regardless of whether a break in service has occurred.
591.342 Contributions

Contributions made by a reemployed annuitant are based on the basic salary for the position prior to the required reduction for the annuity she or he is receiving.

591.35 Transfers From Another Agency

CSRS and FERS employees who transfer from other federal agencies must have their TSP loan payment, automatic (1 percent) contributions, and employee and matching contributions (if any) continue without interruption. Personnel services offices must submit TSP–19, Transfer of Information Between Agencies, to the Eagan Accounting Service Center (ASC).

591.36 Dual Appointments

Federal or Postal Service employees serving in an appointment covered by CSRS or FERS who receive another federal appointment, career or noncareer, are eligible to participate in TSP under each appointment. Pursuant to Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations, an employee covered by a retirement system under any one appointment must be covered by the same retirement system under all other appointments. Personnel service offices must submit TSP–19 to the Eagan ASC to advise of current enrollment elections. Participation rules for dual appointments include the following:

  1. Employees covered by FERS receive the automatic (1 percent) contribution under both appointments.
  2. An employee’s TSP–1 on file under the first appointment determines TSP contributions and fund allocations for a subsequent appointment until the next TSP election period. The employee is not permitted to make a new election outside an open season as a result of the subsequent appointment. If the employee’s contribution election is expressed as a percentage of pay, each agency deducts this percentage. If the employee’s contribution election is expressed as a dollar amount, only the first appointing agency deducts this amount from the employee’s pay.
  3. Beginning with the first open season following the second appointment, agencies treat the employee separately for purposes of TSP elections.

591.4 Permitted Actions

591.41 Open Season

During an open season an eligible employee may submit an election to:

  1. Begin contributions.
  2. Change the dollar amount or percentage of current contributions.
  3. Reallocate current contributions to different investment funds.
  4. Terminate contributions.
591.42 Interfund Transfers

An interfund transfer is the movement of money already in the employee’s account among the investment funds. This movement does not affect contributions from future payroll deductions. Employees are allowed one interfund transfer per month, using the TSP ThriftLine or submitting TSP–30, Interfund Transfer Request, to the TSP Service Office.

591.5 Elections

591.51 Form Required

To submit an election an eligible employee must complete Form TSP–1, Thrift Savings Plan Election Form, and submit it to the personnel office.

591.52 Number Permitted

Except for an election to terminate contributions, an employee may make only one election during an open season.

591.53 Effective Dates

TSP–1 open season election forms submitted to personnel services offices become effective as follows:

  1. Forms received May 15 through June 30 become effective in the first full pay period in July. Forms received in the month of July become effective the earliest possible pay period, subject to Distributed Data Entry and Distributed Reporting (DDE/DR) processing guidelines.
  2. Forms received November 15 through December 31 become effective in the first full pay period in January. Forms received in the month of January become effective the earliest possible pay period, subject to DDE/DR processing guidelines.
  3. Forms to terminate elections are effective the first full pay period beginning after receipt.
591.54 Election Period

The election period is the last calendar month of an open season and is the earliest period during which an open season election, other than a termination, can become effective.

591.55 Belated Elections

If it is determined that an employee was unable for reasons beyond the employee’s control to make an election within the time limits, a belated election may be accepted within 30 calendar days after such determination. The belated election is effective the first pay period after the personnel office accepts the election form.

591.6 CSRS Transfers to FERS

CSRS or CSRS Offset employees who transfer to FERS are permitted 30 days from the effective date of the transfer to submit a TSP election. The election becomes effective the pay period following receipt of the TSP–1.

591.7 Booklets

The booklet TSPBK08, Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal Employees, contains additional information and is available to employees at personnel services offices and on the Web site.