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May Human Resources Advisor Volume 2, Issue 5

Thrift Savings Plan Catch-up Contributions

On November 27, 2002, the President signed Public Law 107-304, which permits eligible TSP participants who are age 50 or older to make tax-deferred "catch-up" contributions from their basic pay to their TSP accounts. These contributions are a supplement to your regular employee contributions and do not count against either the statutory contribution percentage limitations or the Internal Revenue Code's elective deferral limit.

To be eligible for catch-up contributions, you must:

  • be age 50 or older in the year the catch-up contributions are made;
  • be in pay status since the contributions are made by payroll deductions;
  • be contributing either the maximum TSP contribution percentage or an amount which will result in your reaching the elective deferral limit by the end of the relevant year; and
  • not be in the 6-month non-contribution period following the receipt of a financial hardship in-service withdrawal.

Catch-up contributions have annual limits.
The catch-up contribution limit applies to the year that is recorded on the pay date that is specified on the submission by the Department. The catch-up contributions are not eligible for matching contributions. In addition, there are no agency automatic (1%) contributions associated with catch-up contributions.

Catch-up contributions Election.

Catch-up contribution elections are made in terms of a requested whole dollar amount which will be deducted from your basic pay each pay period until the earliest of the following conditions:

  • the annual catch-up limit is reached;
  • the calendar year ends; or
  • you elect to stop the contribution.

If you enter nonpay status during the year, the catch-up contributions, like your regular contributions, will stop. When you return to pay status, you cannot make up missed payments, but you can submit a new election increasing the catch-up contribution amount and effectively make the maximum catch-up contribution allowed by law for that year.

If you are currently contributing to both civilian and uniformed services TSP accounts, 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.

When can I begin?
You can elect catch-up contributions at any time since as this benefit is not subject to open season rules. In order to make the catch-up contributions election, you will need to complete TSP form, TSP-1-C, Catch-up Contribution Election using EBIS.

For additional information, please visit the TSP web-site at www.tsp.gov or contact your local human resources representative.

Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS)
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