Skip to main content
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)



Who may contribute to TSP? 

Current employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS and CSRS-Offset) are eligible to contribute to the TSP.

What does my Agency contribute to my TSP account? 

Only employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are eligible to receive Agency contributions. If you are a FERS employee, your agency makes two types of contributions to your TSP account:

  • Your agency will automatically contribute to your TSP account an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay period. These are your Agency Automatic 1% contributions. You will receive these contributions whether or not you contribute your own money to your TSP account.
  • If you are contributing to your TSP account, your agency will also make Agency Matching contributions, applied to the first 5% of pay that you contribute each pay period. Your contributions are matched dollar-for-dollar on the first 3% of pay you contribute each pay period, and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2% of pay.

Here's how it works:

Percent of Basic Pay Contributed to your TSP Account (FERS Employees Only) 
You contribute: Your agency contributes:  The total Contribution is: 
  Automatic: Agency Matching:  
0% 1% 0% 1%
1% 1% 1% 3%
2% 1% 2% 5%
3% 1% 3% 7%
4% 1% 3.50% 8.50%
5% 1% 4% 10%

Amounts that you contribute above 5% are not matched, however, you will still benefit from before-tax savings and tax-deferred earnings on your contributions.

This is FREE money to you. Take advantage of it by contributing to the TSP!

When can I start to contribute to TSP?

If you are a new employee hired or rehired with a break in service of more than 30 days, on or after August 1, 2010, you will be automatically enrolled in TSP and will have 3% of your basic pay withheld from your salary beginning your first pay period. The contributions will be invested in the G Fund until you make elect to change your fund allocation, complete an interfund transfer, and/or elect to receive a refund.

All employees eligible to participate in TSP may start to contribute at anytime.

What if I am a newly hired or rehired employee and want to opt out of the automatic enrollment and receive a refund?

You may elect to stop contributing to your TSP account by submitting a completed TSP-1, TSP Election Form, electing to terminate contributions to the Human Resources Office by fax at (612) 336-3545, or by mailing the form to: USDA APHIS MRPBS HRD, Benefits Section, 250 Marquette Ave STE 410, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2329 . If your TSP-1, electing to terminate your contributions, is received in Minneapolis by the end of your first pay period you will not have any contributions withheld.

If you have contributions withheld, you will receive a TSP Welcome Letter once your account is opened at the TSP office. You may apply for a refund of contributions by submitting a completed TSP-25, Request for Automatic Enrollment Refund, to the TSP Office no later than the refund deadline provided in the letter.

What is the difference between Traditional and Roth contributions?

  • Traditional contributions are taken out of your pay before taxes are withheld, so you pay less tax now. Taxes on contributions and earnings are deferred until you withdraw your money. In addition, low and moderate income employees have an additional Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (also called the Saver's Credit).
  • Roth contributions are taken from your salary after taxes. At retirement, you can withdraw the money tax free. You may also be eligible to withdraw the interest and earnings tax free if 5 years have passed since January 1 of the year you made your first Roth contribution and you are 59-1/2, permanently disabled, or deceased.

To learn more about choosing which type of contributions may be right for you, check out the AgLearn course, Plan Your Savings Strategy with the New TSP.

Additional information may also be found at TSP.

How much can I contribute To TSP? 

The total amount that you may contribute is capped by the Internal Revenue Service's annual elective deferral limit: $18,500 in 2018.

FERS employees who are eligible for government matching contributions should be sure to contribute to TSP every pay period.

How do I make a TSP Contribution Election?

You can enroll, change, or stop your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contribution amount at any time, but you may make only ONE transaction per pay period. You may choose one of the following ways to process your transaction:

Use NFC's Employee Personal Page. This is an automated system accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we encourage you to use this efficient method of processing your TSP change. If you have misplaced your NFC password, you may request another one at the NFC EPP web site.

Or complete a TSP-1, TSP Election Form. Please note that you must indicate an amount for both the Traditional and Roth Contributions on the form. A space left blank is considered 0% and your form will be processed to reflect no contributions for a blank item.

Complete the form, print it, sign it, and FAX it to (612) 336-3545, or mail it to:

Benefits Section
USDA MRPBS Human Resources
250 Marquette Ave STE 410
Minneapolis, MN 55401-2329

DO NOT mail the TSP-1 form if you have FAXED it. DO NOT complete a TSP-1 form if you used NFC's Employee Personal Page for the same transaction. You may make only one transaction per pay period.

When will my TSP Election become effective?

TSP elections generally become effective at the beginning of the following pay period, however, transactions processed through NFC EPP may be effective in the pay period it is processed.

You are required to review your Statement of Earnings and Leave whenever you request a change which affects your salary withholdings, and to report any errors to your servicing Benefits Specialist immediately. Your Statement of Earnings and Leave is available on your NFC Employee Personal Page.

When am I eligible for Agency Contributions? 

All FERS employees are immediately eligible for Agency contributions. H.R. 1256 enacted into law on June 22, 2009, eliminated the waiting period.

CSRS employees are not eligible for agency contributions.

What is TSP Catch Up?  

If you will be age 50 or older this year, and if you will contribute the maximum limit to the TSP ($18,000 in 2017), you may be able to make an additional $6,000 in catch up contributions to the TSP in 2017. Click here or more information.

TSP Catch Up elections do not carry over from year to year. To participate, you must make a new TSP Catch Up election at NFC's Employee Personal Page, or by using the TSP-1-C form.

TSP-1-C, TSP Catch Up Contributions Election Form.

What are the TSP Investment Funds? 

G Fund Government Securities Investment Fund
F Fund Fixed Income Index Fund
C Fund Common Stock Index Fund
S Fund Small Capitalization Stock Index Investment Fund
I Fund International Stock Index Investment Fund
L Funds Lifecycle Funds

Read about the TSP investment funds.

Thrift Savings Plan: Your Guide to the L Funds (94Mb) (9 minutes)

How do I make an Investment Allocation?

You may invest in any or all of the TSP investment funds. You may use one of the following ways to change the investment of future contributions to your TSP account (contribution allocations) or to change the investment of money already in your account (interfund transfer):

  • Use the TSP Website. Click on "Account Access.” You need your TSP account number (not your Social Security Number) and your TSP web password. You may request a TSP account number at this site if you need one, but your address of record must be correct before you can request a TSP account number, because it will be mailed to your address of record. (You can update your address of record at NFC's Employee Personal Page.
  • From a touch tone telephone, use the TSP Thriftline, 1-877-968-3778. You need your TSP account number and your 4-digit TSP PIN (which is not the same as your TSP web password). If you have misplaced your TSP PIN, call the Thriftline to request a replacement PIN.

When do Investment Allocations become effective? 

The TSP Service Office will send you a confirmation of your investment allocation request when it has been processed. You are required to review your quarterly TSP Participant Statement and report any errors within 30 days.

Where can I get more information about TSP?

Link to the Thrift Savings Plan web site for complete information on the Thrift Savings Plan, including TSP forms and publications, current rates of return, access to your own TSP account, on-line calculators to estimate future account balances and TSP annuities, a retirement savings planner, and how the TSP is changing. Find out about the new Lifecycle Funds!

Summary of the Thrift Saving Plan (TSPBK08)

TSP-3, TSP Designation of Beneficiary Form

QUESTIONS: Please contact your servicing Benefits Specialist.

(For employees of USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs and the Merit Systems Protection Board)

Complementary Content