Question: Congress passed a law last year giving federal employees more ways to take money from their Thrift Savings Plan accounts. Can I use them now?
Answer: The additional options under that law are not effective yet as the 401(k)-style TSP works to issue rules and make other changes needed to carry them out.
When TSP account holders leave the government, they may choose one or more of three withdrawal options: an annuity, a lump-sum or “substantially equal” payments. Under the latter two, money can be transferred into an IRA, within limits. One partial withdrawal is allowed under current law.
The new law allows multiple partial withdrawals and more ways to tailor regular payments. Also, more than one “in-service” withdrawal without a tax penalty after age 59½ will be allowed.
The law gave the TSP two years to carry out the changes. “We intend to have the changes in place before the two-year deadline but don’t yet have a specific date to announce,” the agency said last week.
It added that the new options will be available to those who already have taken withdrawals when they take effect.