The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is one of the most important benefits for eligible Federal employees and members of the uniformed services.  The TSP is a retirement savings plan similar to 401(k) plans offered to private sector employees. 

The plan affords you the ability to participate in a long-term retirement savings and investment plan. Saving for retirement through the TSP provides many advantages, including:

  • Automatic payroll deductions
  • A diversified choice of investment options
  • A choice of tax treatments for your contributions:
    • Traditional (pre-tax) contributions and tax deferred investment earnings, and
    • Roth (after-tax) contributions with tax-free earnings at retirement if you satisfy the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements
  • Low administrative and investment expenses
  • Agency contributions, if you are an employee covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS)
  • Under certain circumstances, access to your money while you are still employed by the Federal Government
  • A beneficiary participant account established for your spouse in the event of your death
  • A variety of withdrawal options

TSP benefits differ depending on your retirement system (FERS, Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), or uniformed services). If you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System, the TSP is one part of a three-part retirement package that also includes your FERS basic annuity and Social Security.  If you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System or are a member of the uniformed services, the TSP is a supplement to your CSRS annuity or military retired pay.  If you are not sure which retirement system covers you, check with your Human Resources Specialist.

Regardless of your retirement system, participating in the TSP can significantly increase your retirement income, but starting early is important.  Contributing early gives the money in your account more time to increase in value through the compounding of earnings.

Learn more at

Understanding Your Benefits