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Last TSP 'open season' ends June 30

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The restrictions of having only two open seasons each year for civilian and military members to sign up for, stop, resume or change their Thrift Savings Plan contributions has ended.

Public Law 108-469 went into effect July 1, eliminating restrictions on contribution elections that have always been tied to TSP open seasons, officials said.

The elimination of open seasons affects civilian and military members who are eligible to contribute to TSP in the following ways:

  • Gives people more flexibility in managing their TSP contribution amounts depending on their personal situations.
  • Civilians can now make 26 or 27 TSP contribution elections per year (based on pay periods) and servicemembers 24 per year.
  • Contribution elections submitted on or after July 1 will be effective at the beginning of the pay period following the one in which the election is submitted.

"What hasn't changed is the contribution limits set for 2005," said Janet Thomas of Air Force Personnel Center's civilian benefits and entitlement service team here.

Employees may continue to contribute to TSP based on the system they are currently under for 2005 -- Civil Service Retirement System, 10 percent; Federal Employees' Retirement System, 15 percent; or the military pay system, 10 percent.

The law eliminating open seasons does not eliminate the waiting period that newly hired or rehired FERS employees not previously eligible must serve before they can begin to receive agency contributions. Participants who make an in-service financial hardship withdrawal may not make TSP contribution elections for a six-month period following the withdrawal.

"As a reminder, Air Force-serviced civilian employees must make TSP contribution elections via the (Benefits and Entitlements Service Team) automated phone system or the Employee Benefits Information System," Ms. Thomas said.

Instructions on how to access the BEST automated Web and phone system is available online at www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/dpc/best/automated.htm.

Information on enrollment in TSP is available online at www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/mpf/TSP/thrift_savings_plan.htm. Civilian TSP information is at www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/dpc/BEST/menu.htm.

Information on the overall TSP is also available at www.tsp.gov. (Courtesy of AFPC News Service)

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