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Thrift Savings Plan "Catch-Up"

Submitted: Toula

Valued Customers,

Below is information on Thrift Savings Plan "catch-up" contributions for members over 50. The next open season is April 15-Jun 30th. However, people can start the catch-up contributions anytime. You can find more information of TSP on the web site, If you require further assistance please contact the POC at the bottom of the message.

What are "catch-up" contributions?

Catch-up contributions are supplemental tax-deferred contributions available to TSP participants age 50 or older who are already contributing the maximum amount of regular TSP contributions for which they are eligible (that is, the maximum percentage allowed by TSP contribution limits for members of the uniformed services - 10% in 2005), up to the maximum IRS elective deferral limit ($14,000 in 2005). Catch-up contributions have their own annual limit $4,000 in 2005; $5,000 in 2006; thereafter, increases will be indexed to inflation). Your catch-up contributions are invested in the TSP funds according to your most recent contribution allocation.

If you are eligible, you can submit an election at any time to make these contributions; you do not have to wait for an open season. Form TSP-U-1-C, Catch-up Contribution Election, will be available in the Forms & Publications section of this Web site or from your service. Some services may use an electronic version of the form - for example, MyPay. Check with your service TSP representative for guidance.

You can change, stop, or restart catch-up contributions at any time. Your contributions will automatically stop at the end of the calendar year or when you reach the maximum dollar limit for the year. You must make a new election each calendar year. If you are currently contributing to both a civilian and a uniformed services TSP account, you can make separate catch-up contributions to each account so long as the total for both accounts combined does not exceed the annual catch-up limit.

Your catch-up contributions are deducted from your taxable basic pay each pay period; therefore, you must be currently employed as a member of the uniformed services and receiving pay. As a member of the uniformed services, you may not make catch-up contributions from tax-exempt basic pay (earned while serving in a combat zone), or from bonus pay, special pay, or incentive pay. In addition, you may not be in the 6-month non-contribution period following receipt of a TSP financial hardship in-service withdrawal. For more information, read the TSP Fact Sheet "Catch-up Contributions."

Contribution Limits

In addition to the percentage contribution limits below, the maximum amount of your own pay that you can contribute to the TSP is also limited by the IRS. TSP employee contribution limits and IRS limits will increase each year, as follows:

Year TSP Limits IRS Limits
FERS CSRS Uniformed Services Regular Contributions* Catch-Up Contributions Total Contributions
2004 14%     9%           9%     $13,000                             $3,000                 $16,000
2005 15%     10%        10%     $14,000                             $4,000                 $18,000
2006 and thereafter Limits eliminated $15,000 $5,000** $20,000
* For uniformed services participants, this includes incentive pay and special pay, including bonus pay.
** After 2006, this amount will be subject to increases to reflect inflation.

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Page added on:  19 March 2005