Spousal Rights for the Thrift Savings Plan
The law gives certain rights to your spouse (including your legally separated
spouse) to your Thrift Savings Plan.
The TSP must take these rights into consideration when you withdraw or borrow
from your account. The TSP will take action to prosecute any participant
who denies (or attempts to deny) his or her spouse these rights by, for example,
forging the spouse's signature or falsifying the spouse's address.
Borrowing from your TSP account
If you are a married FERS participant, you must obtain your spouse's consent
before you can receive a TSP loan. (Your spouse's consent does not make
him or her a cosigner of your loan or obligate him or her to repay your
loan.) If you are a married CSRS participant, the TSP must notify your
spouse before your loan is approved.
Making an in-service withdrawal
If you are a married FERS participant, you must obtain your spouses'
notarized consent to an in-service withdrawal before the withdrawal can be
approved. Spouses of CSRS participants will be notified of any withdrawal.
Making a withdrawal after you separate
If you are making a partial withdrawal after you separate, FERS participants
must obtain their spouses' notarized consent before the withdrawal can be
approved; spouses of CSRS participants will be notified of the withdrawal.
For a full withdrawal, spouse's rights apply only if your account balance is
more than $3,500. In that case, if you are a married FERS participant,
your spouse is entitled to a joint and survivor annuity with 50 percent survivor
benefit, level payments, and no cash refund feature. If you choose a
withdrawal method other than the prescribed annuity, or if you choose a mixed
withdrawal, your spouse must waive his or her right to that annuity. If
you are a married CSRS participant and you are making a full withdrawal, the TSP
must notify your spouse before you withdraw your account.
Are there any exceptions to the spouses' rights
Under certain limited circumstances, an exception may be granted to the
spouses' rights requirements. To apply for an exception, complete Form TSP-16, Exception to Spousal
Requirements, and submit it with the required documentation to the TSP at
the address on the form. Form TSP-16 is available from the TSP website at http://www.tsp.gov or
from your agency personnel office.
Click here to view
a chart summarizes the TSP spousal
requirements and exceptions.
Your TSP account is subject to certain matrimonial court orders and to the
enforcement of your legal obligations to make alimony and child support payments
or to satisfy judgments against you for child abuse. Matrimonial court
orders are court decrees of divorce, annulment, or legal separation, or the
terms of court-approved property settlements incident to any court decree of
divorce, annulment, or legal separation. In order to be considered
qualifying and thus enforceable against the TSP, the order must meet the
requirements stated in Board regulations (5 C.F.R. Part 1653).
If the TSP receives a document which purports to be a qualifying order or
legal process for the enforcement of back payment of alimony, child support, or
a judgment against you for child abuse, your account will be frozen for loans
and withdrawals. In order to authorize payment from your account, a
qualifying court order must clearly identify your TSP account and must describe
the award to be made to your spouse, former spouse, or other party in such a way
that the amount can be definitively calculated. Note: If you have
two accounts (i.e., as a member of the uniformed services and as a federal
civilian employee), the court order must clearly identify the account to which
the order/award applies.