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Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
TSP is one of the most important benefits for eligible federal employees. TSP is a 403(a) retirement plan, which is similar to a 401(k), but is a section of the Internal Revenue Code that allows for salary deferments. TSP allows federal employees to contribute bi-weekly to a retirement savings and investment plan before tax contributions. Both EBIS and the TSP website offer services to federal employees. 
TSP Types of Investment Funds:
G Fund – U.S. Treasury Securities (Investment is Guaranteed)
F Fund – Fixed Income Investment Fund (Bond Market)
C Fund – Common Stock Investment Index (S&P 500)
S Fund – Small Capitalization Stock Index Investment Fund
I Fund – International Stock Index Investment Fund (Europe, Australasia, and Far East Index – EAFE)
L Funds - Lifecycle Funds
  • L Funds are selected based on the participant’s time horizon, or when the participant expects to start withdrawal from their TSP account. These funds are diversified accounts that are made up of the 5 major investment funds offered by the TSP
Employees who are currently covered by CSRS or FERS are eligible to enroll in TSP. Additionally, members of the uniformed services may also enroll in TSP. Those employees who are covered by Social Security (“FICA” Only) are ineligible to enroll.

Employee Contributions and Agency Matching:

All eligible employees may begin making contributions to TSP immediately. As of August 1, 2010, enrollment in TSP is automatic for newly hired Federal civilian employees. The government automatically deducts 3% from each bi-weekly paycheck and places this in the G Fund. The employee must specifically request a change in this status.

All FERS employees automatically receive a 1% contribution of the employee’s basic pay from the agency. The agency will make matching contributions of up to 5%.

CSRS employees will not receive agency contributions.

Maximum contributions are determined by the IRS. The current Elective Deferral Limit is $18,000. Employees may contribute up to this limit.

Catch-up contributions are supplemental contributions made via payroll deduction by participants who are age 50 and older who are contributing the maximum amount. The maximum amount that one can contribute to “catch-up" remains at $6,000.


Vesting is the right to keep the agency automatic 1% contributions and earnings after a time-in-service requirement. Most FERS employees are “vested” after 3 years of service. Exceptions include career SES and other executive level positions who reach the vesting period after 2 years.

CSRS employees do not require a vesting period because they do not receive the 1% agency contribution.

Vesting is calculated based on Federal Civilian Service Computation Date. All civilian service will be used in calculating this date.

What happens to TSP when employees are in a Non-Pay Status?
Since TSP contributions and Agency contributions are based on an employee’s basic pay, there will be no contributions made to TSP while employees are in a non-pay status. This includes employees on Workers’ Compensation (OWCP). Additionally, TSP Loans may not be taken out; however, inter-fund loan transfers may be made.

TSP Transfers and Loans:

Employees may transfer eligible distributions from a traditional IRA or another eligible retirement plan into an open TSP Account using the TSP-60 Form, or newly hired employees may rollover funds within 60 days of appointment.

Transfers are not subject to the $16,500 maximum elective deferral limit set by the IRS.

Employees, in a pay status, may borrow against the employee contributions in their TSP account. A minimum loan amount is $1,000; however, the loan amount may not be more than half of the employee’s contributions and earnings and is limited to $50,000.

  • There is a $50 processing fee for each loan
  • There are two types of loans:
    1. Residential – Loan may only be used towards the purchase or construction of a primary residence
    2. General Purpose Loan

Employees may use the TSP-20 form or apply online at for a loan.

Designating a Beneficiary:

Employees should use the TSP-3 Form to designate all beneficiaries. The total amount of designations must equal 100%. Wills do not constitute proper documentation for TSP designations. If no beneficiary is designated, the account balance will be paid through the Order of Preference. The Order of Preference is as follows:

  1. Widow or widower
  2. Child or children (equal shares)
  3. Parents (equal shares)


TSP-3: Designation of Beneficiary  
TSP-20: Loan Application  
TSP-60: Request for a Transfer Into the TSP  
TSP Forms  
TSP Calculators  
EBIS Website Login  

Thrift Savings Plan

This link provides updates and announcements on TSP plans and other items of interests.
News and Announcements

TSP Contact Information

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Thrift Line
Phone: 1-877-968-3778

Use the website or call TSP Thrift Line for information regarding:

  1. Loans
  2. Contribution Allocations
  3. Interfund Transfers
  4. Beneficiary Designations
  5. Withdrawals

Call EBIS or visit website for information regarding:

  1. Enrollment in TSP
  2. Contribution Changes
  3. Cancellation of TSP Enrollment


Employee Benefits Information System

Phone: 1-888-320-2917 (Option 4 for customer service representative)
TTY Phone: 1-866-328-9889
Hours: Monday thru Friday 0730-1930 (Eastern Time)