Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan
As a member of the uniformed services, you 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 you the ability to participate in a long-term retirement savings and investment plan. Saving for your retirement through the TSP provides many advantages. To learn more about the TSP see "Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan", a comprehensive booklet explaining the TSP, its features, benefits, and generally how it works. (PDF 1.2MB). Also, visit the Blended Retirement System (BRS) web page to learn more about how the TSP will work with the new retirement system.
Topics on this page:
When are contributions sent from the Coast Guard to the TSP?
TSP contributions are delivered to TSP on the first business day of the month. It can be up to five business days before your contribution posts into your TSP account.
TSP Contribution Limits
The TSP Web Site provides the limits for contributions: https://www.tsp.gov/PlanParticipation/EligibilityAndContributions/contributionLimits.html.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a voluntary retirement savings and investment plan.
Once enrolled there are only two options to withdraw money while in the service: Financial hardship and reaching age 59 1/2 or older.
Before You Begin - Thrift Savings Plan Mailing Address Now Required
A new address type has been added to Direct Access. All Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants must add a TSP mailing address to the system. The address must be added before you can enroll in the TSP, or if already participating, before you can change any contributions. The TSP mailing address may be the same as your home and/or mailing address. However, the address line (number and street for example) cannot exceed 25 characters. See the Thrift Savings Plan Mailing Address topic in the DA Knowledge Base to learn how to add the TSP mailing address to your profile.
Coast Guard Academy cadets and non-prior service CG Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) cadets are not eligible to participate in TSP until they are commissioned or reverted to enlisted status.
TSP Address Changes:
For Active Duty and Reserve members: TSP will automatically receive new address information from the U. S. Coast Guard on the first of the month following the month in which you update your address in Direct Access Self-Service.
Separated and former members: Please follow the procedures on form TSP-9, Change in Address for Separated Participant to update your address.
For questions on enrollment, re enrollment, dis enrollment, or form completion, contact PPC Customer Care via phone (785-339-2200) or e-mail Customer Care.
All pay related TSP questions should be directed to the P&A office. If the P&A office cannot resolve the issue, the P&A office is to contact the servicing SPO. If the SPO cannot resolve the issues, the SPO will contact PPC Customer Service.
For questions on TSP investments, loans, and PINS, contact TSP Thrift Line via phone (1-877-968-3778).
Roth 401(k) Feature
The Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2009, Public Law 111-31, authorized the TSP to add a Roth feature to the plan. This benefit allows participants to contribute on an after tax basis to their TSP accounts and receive tax free earnings when the funds are withdrawn, as long as they are at least age 59 and a half and the withdrawal is made at least five years after the beginning of the year in which their first Roth contribution was made. Traditional TSP contributions are made on a pretax basis and are taxed when withdrawn. The Roth TSP option is similar to private sector Roth 401 (K) plans.
Roth contributions may be made in addition to or in lieu of traditional contributions. They are subject to the same IRS elective deferral limit and must be combined with any traditional TSP contributions to determine if the limit has been met.
Participants who will turn 50 or older in the calendar year may elect to make Roth catch up contributions in addition to or in lieu of traditional catch up contributions. All traditional catch up contributions and Roth catch up contributions are contributed from Basic pay, Bonus Pay, Special Pay and Incentive Pay. The total must not exceed the catch up contribution limit. Participants will continue to be required to certify that they expect to reach the elective deferral limit for the year.
Participants may designate any whole percentage of Basic pay, Bonus Pay, Special Pay and Incentive Pay as Roth contributions. This election may be in addition to, or in lieu of, an election to make traditional contributions. For example, a participant could elect to contribute 5 percent of basic pay as a Roth contribution and 10% basic pay as a traditional contribution (or vice versa).
Participants will be able to take loans, in service withdrawals and partial withdrawals from their accounts as before. Money will be disbursed on a pro rata basis with a proportional amount from the participants traditional and Roth balances.
Money already in employees TSP accounts when they begin making Roth contributions will remain part of the traditional balance. Participants will not be able to convert it to Roth.
More information on the Roth option from the TSP (Added 24 Feb 2012):
TSP Catch-Up Contribution Program:
- Members age 50 or older are allowed to contribute an additional amount to TSP (beyond the
IRS Elective Deferral Limit). Note: Catch-Up contributions are dollar amounts. All other contributions are a percentage of the gross pay or bonus amount. See "Current Limits and Rates" for the amount you can contribute.
- Catch-up program applies to members turning age 50 prior to the end of the calendar year.
- Catch-up contributions are on a pre-tax basis like other TSP contributions.
- Elections, election changes, and stops are allowed at any time beginning in the year the member turns age 50.
- Catch-up contributions are separate from regular contributions, but are combined with regular contributions on the W-2.
- Catch-up contributions are in whole dollar amounts (versus a percentage) and are a deduction from basic pay.
- Elections for catch-up contributions expire on 31 December of each year.
- If a member stops regular contributions, catch-up contributions are also stopped.
Quarterly Participant Statements
The Account Access section of the TSP Web site is your only source for quarterly participant statements, unless you elected to receive your statements in the mail (you can make this election using the Account Access web page). New statements are posted on the Web site after the end of each calendar quarter (i.e., March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31). The statement shows your account balance and a detailed summary of the activity in your account during the previous reporting period. If you have a loan, your quarterly loan information will also be included on your participant statement.
The best source of information about your TSP account is the Account Access section of the TSP Web site. You will need your SSN and your PIN to access your account. Once you access your account, you can find out your daily account balance, check on your loan, see the status of a loan or withdrawal request, see what your current contribution allocation is, etc. You can also use this Web site to perform a number of transactions, such as making interfund transfers or contribution allocations, requesting a new computer-generated or custom PIN, requesting that quarterly participant statements be mailed to you, or initiating a loan or withdrawal.
How Does Filing Bankruptcy Affect TSP?
These fact sheets explain how a bankruptcy petition affects a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account, loan, or in-service withdrawal.
Procedure governing TSP:
Policy governing TSP
- Chapter 6, section G of the Coast Guard Pay Manual
Detailed information on TSP:
Blended Retirement system (BRS)