Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
Benefit Fact Sheet
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a Federal Government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. It offers the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under "401(k)" plans.
Blended Retirement System (BRS) Members of the Uniformed Services
If you are a member of the uniformed services who began serving on or after January 1, 2018, your service automatically enrolled you in the TSP (or will) once you had served 60 days and 3% of your basic pay is deducted from your paycheck each pay period and deposited in the traditional balance of your TSP account, unless you have made an election to change or stop your contributions. You can make an election by following the instructions in Starting, Changing, and Stopping Your Contributions .
Non-BRS Members of the Uniformed Services
If you are a member of the uniformed services who is not covered by the Blended Retirement System (BRS), your account is established by your service after you make a contribution election using your service's automated system, if it has one. For example, most members of the uniformed services use myPay. If your service does not use an electronic system, you can complete Form TSP-U-1 , Election Form and return it to your service.
Reentering Members of the Uniformed Services
If you were already in the BRS plan before you left the service—whether as a new member of the uniformed services or an opt-in—you will be automatically reenrolled when you reenter. If you were not in BRS but had fewer than 12 years of service when you left, your service may give you the opportunity to opt in when you reenter. In either case, assuming you had served 60 days before leaving, your enrollment will begin with the first pay period after reentering. If neither situation applies to you, you can still start a TSP account or resume contributing to your existing account as a non-BRS member. Follow the instructions in Starting, Changing, and Stopping Your Contributions .
As of September 15, 2019, you now have more options for how and when you can access money from your TSP account. These options fall into the following categories:
After you separate from service, you can take multiple post-separation partial withdrawals.
If you're 59½ or older and still working in federal civilian or uniformed service, you can take up to four in-service withdrawals each year.
You’ll be able to choose whether your withdrawal should come from your Roth balance, your traditional balance, or a proportional mix of both.
You will no longer need to make a full withdrawal election after you turn 70½ and are separated from federal service. (You will still need to receive IRS required minimum distributions (RMDs).)
If you're a separated participant, you'll be able to take monthly, quarterly, or annual payments.
You’ll be able stop, start, or make changes to your installment payments at any time.
You'll have enhanced online tools to help you make withdrawals in the My Account section of https://www.tsp.gov/index.html .
For more information on change to TSP Withdrawal options visit: https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tspfs10.pdf
Change in Required Minimum Distribution Age:
The SECURE Act, which passed on December 20, 2019, changes the age at which you have to start taking required minimum distributions from 70 ½ to 72. The law excludes people who turned 70 ½ on or before December 31, 2019. We are awaiting guidance from the IRS on how this new law should be implemented. Please be aware that the resource you’re trying to access has not been updated for the new law.
Implementation of 5% Automatic Enrollment Percentage for Thrift Savings Plan Participants
On October 1, 2020, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) will increase the automatic enrollment percentage from 3% to 5% of pay for all Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), and Blended Retirement System (BRS) participants who are automatically enrolled in the TSP on or after October 1, 2020, and for BRS participants automatically re-enrolled in the TSP on or after January 1, 2021, per 5 CFR § 1600.34 and 1600.37. The Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2009 grants the FRTIB the authority for this change. This change will not affect the contribution rates in place for FERS and CSRS participants who were automatically enrolled in the TSP prior to October 1, 2020, or BRS participants who were automatically enrolled prior to October 1, 2020, and did not terminate their contributions. Click here for more information.
Retired Army Reserve Soldiers may no longer contribute to the TSP, but may withdraw their contributions from the TSP.
Withdrawing Funds: Soldiers are eligible, but not required, to withdraw from the TSP account as soon as they separate from the uniformed services. However, a certain portion of the account balance must be withdrawn beginning with the year in which the Soldier becomes age 70½. This portion of the balance, known as a "required minimum distribution," is based on life expectancy. If a full or partial withdrawal is not made, or if monthly payments do not begin, the TSP must make the required distribution before April 1 of the following year. Active Soldiers are not required to make withdrawals, regardless of age. Payments can be deposited directly into checking or savings accounts. The TSP can also transfer all or part of any single payment or, in some cases, a series of monthly payments, to a traditional IRA or eligible employer plan.
Regulations: TSP regulations are published in title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1600 - 1690, and are periodically supplemented and amended in the Federal Register.
For more information, please visit the Thrift Savings Plan webpage maintained by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board:
Thrift Savings Plan Calculators:
Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Compensation website:
Summary of Thrift Savings Plan: