The board that administers the Thrift Savings Plan has some simple but important advice for successfully submitting forms to make changes to TSP accounts.
In a new YouTube video, the TSP board offers five tips to help federal employees complete TSP requests, including those for withdrawals, and to do so correctly, “the first time.” That would indicate that a lot of people haven’t been conducting transactions correctly.
So what does TSP suggest?
- Use Online Wizards: Enrollees can log into their accounts at http://www.tsp.gov/, click “Online Transactions” and select the appropriate form for their transaction. A “wizard” will walk users through the process of correctly filling out forms and electronically submit them. Users also can print out the forms at the end of the transaction and mail or fax them to the TSP.
- Be Mindful of Boxes: TSP enrollees should make sure they check the right box for the desired transaction, and then fill out the corresponding section. For example, if you want to transfer a withdrawal, then check that box and then fill out the applicable section on transfers.
- Check Your Status: If you leave government service, you can keep your money in the TSP. But if you want to withdraw money from your account, you need to make sure your federal agency sends the TSP notice of your separation. Otherwise, you’ll be unable to withdraw any funds.
- Pay Attention to Details: Scanners read most of the TSP forms, so an errant mark, or letters and numbers that span more than one box when enrollees are filling out their personal information, can be interpreted as errors. A machine can’t quite intuit the way a human reader can, so be sure to pay attention to detail if you are going to fill out the paperwork by hand. Only fill out the sections that are applicable to your transaction. For example, if you don’t have a Roth account, skip that section. And make sure all percentages add up to 100 percent. “Double checking these details can save a lot of time down the line,” the video said.
- Submit Once, and Only Once: Apparently, some users have been submitting their forms in multiple formats (online, mail, and fax), perhaps hoping for an expedited transaction; however, the TSP can only process a transaction once. Users can check the status of withdrawals and loans online within five days of submission.