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You can no longer make TSP contributions after you retire from Federal service; however, you can transfer funds into TSP from a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or an eligible employer plan. After you retire, you can leave your money in TSP (if the account balance is $200 or more) or you can elect a withdrawal option. If your account balance is less than $5, it will automatically be forfeited to TSP. You may subsequently request that this amount be paid to you.

You must notify TSP if you change your address or change your name to ensure you continue to receive important information about your account.

If you have an outstanding TSP loan, you may pay the loan in full at retirement or take a taxable distribution of the unpaid amount. Taking a taxable distribution means that the portion of the loan that has not been repaid will be treated as taxable income and you may be liable for the 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal. If you leave Federal service, a withdrawal request cannot be processed until your loan is closed by either payment in full or taxable distribution.

If you leave your money in TSP, it will continue to accrue earnings. You can reallocate your money among the funds using interfund transfers. However, you must withdraw your entire balance (or begin receiving monthly payments from TSP or from the TSP annuity vendor) by April 1 of the year following the year you turn 70½ (or following the year you retire, if you are already older than age 70½ when you leave Federal service).

If you want to withdraw your money from TSP, you should read the publication Withdrawing Your TSP Account After Leaving Federal Service before you choose a withdrawal option. Because the tax rules that apply to each of the withdrawal options are complex, and may differ depending on the options you choose, you should also read the tax notice Important Tax Information About Payments From Your TSP Account.

TSP provides several ways to withdraw your account:

  • You can make a partial withdrawal of your account in a single payment.
  • You can make a full withdrawal of your account using any one, or any combination, of the following methods:

    • A single payment
    • A series of monthly payments
    • A life annuity.

You can transfer all or part of any single payment or, in some cases, a series of monthly payments, to a traditional IRA or eligible employer plan. You may also be eligible to transfer to a Roth IRA; however, rules and restrictions apply.

You should wait at least 30 days from your retirement date before sending a withdrawal election to TSP since payroll must report your retirement and its effective date to the TSP record keeper before your withdrawal request can be processed. If you send the election form early, it might be returned to you.


  1. If you want to leave your money in TSP, no action is required.
  2. If you want to withdraw your money from TSP, you should wait 30 days from the effective date of your retirement and then complete the election to make your withdrawal. If you have any questions about your withdrawal options, you should contact a ThriftLine participant service representative.
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