Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees and members of the uniformed services, including the Ready Reserve. It was established by Congress in the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 and offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans.

Saving for your retirement through the TSP provides many advantages, including:

• Automatic payroll deductions

• Diversified choice of investment options, including professionally designed lifecycle funds

• Choice of tax treatments for your contributions:
– Traditional (pre-tax) contributions and tax deferred investment earnings

– Roth (after-tax) contributions with tax-free earnings at retirement if you satisfy the IRS requirements

• Low administrative and investment expenses

• Agency/service contributions, if you are an employee covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or a member of the uniformed services covered by the Blended Retirement System (BRS)

• Under certain circumstances, access to your money while you are still employed by the federal government

• A beneficiary participant account established for your spouse in the event of your death

• A variety of withdrawal options


However, there are several TSP investment funds to choose from. It’s crucial to select a plan that’s right for your particular circumstances and retirement goals. Checkout the TSP Funds Comparison section of our website to see which plan may be best suited for you.

Eligibility Requirements

Most employees of the United States Government are eligible to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan. You are eligible if you are:

  • A Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employee (generally if you were hired before January 1, 1984 and did not convert to FERS), or
  • A member of the uniformed services (active duty or Ready Reserve), or
  • A civilian in certain other categories of Government service

If you are not certain which retirement system you are covered under, you should check with your personnel or benefits office.

In addition to being covered by an eligible retirement system, you must also be:

  • Actively employed by the Federal Government as a civilian employee or as a member of the uniformed services,
  • In pay status, in order to contribute, and
  • Working full- or part-time.

The IRS has established limits on contributions to your TSP which may occasionally change. Current limits are published on the TSP website and elsewhere. Checkout the TSP Contributions section of our website for a more in depth look.


Contact a Federal Employee Benefits Specialist to help you navigate the retirement benefits waters and make sure you’re on the path to a comfortable retirement.

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