Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

Federal employees have the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a retirement savings plan similar to 401(k) plans offered to private sector employees. The purpose of the TSP is to give employees the ability to participate in a long-term retirement savings and investment plan. Saving for their retirement through the TSP provides many advantages, such as:

  • automatic payroll deductions
  • a diversified choice of investment options, including professionally designed lifecycle funds
  • A choice of tax treatments for their contributions:
    • Traditional (pre-tax) contributions and tax deferred investment earnings, and
    • Roth (after-tax) contributions with tax-free earnings at retirement if they satisfy the Internal Revenue Service requirements

  • agency contributions, if an employee is covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS)
  • under certain circumstances, access to their money while they are employed by the Federal Government, e.g. TSP loans.
  • a variety of withdrawal options

If employees are covered by FERS, the TSP is one part of a three-part retirement package that also includes their FERS basic annuity and Social Security. If employees are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) the TSP is a supplement to their CSRS annuity.

Employees may make their TSP election electronically via the Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS) web site at (, or Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) automated telephone system at 1-877-276-9287 (see the Army Benefits Center-Civilian (ABC-C) telephone MENU on the ABC-C web site for OCONUS phone numbers). If employees need assistance with their election they should contact ABC-C at 1-877-276-9287. ABC-C counselors are available Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. - 6 p.m., Central time.

Additional information regarding TSP and the capability for employees to access/manage their TSP account is on the TSP’s website:

Content last reviewed: 9/18/2012-VOH

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This page was last revised: 9/18/2012