The TSP is conducting a participant survey, the first of its kind since 2013, asking about user experience and customer satisfaction. Notices are being sent to a pool of recipients at their email accounts or addresses of record, and reminders also will be sent to complete the survey electronically or in the mail.
The survey comes as legislation has been offered to address one of the common complaints about the program, the limited range of withdrawal choices. A recently offered Senate bill would allow multiple in-service withdrawals after age 59 ½ rather than just one, as well as multiple partial withdrawals after separation, along with new options for structuring “substantially equal” withdrawals, currently allowed only on a monthly basis with other restrictions applying, as well.
In the 2013 survey, 87 percent called themselves satisfied or very satisfied overall with the TSP (and only 3 percent dissatisfied or very dissatisfied)–but only 61 percent were positive regarding the ways to withdraw money after leaving federal employment.
Restrictions on withdrawal options are commonly cited reasons why participants transfer their money to IRAs or other retirement savings vehicles after separation rather than leave the money with the TSP. The same applies to the limited range of investments; the TSP already has authority to create a “window” for investment in outside funds but has said that won’t be available sooner than 2020.
The earlier survey also revealed a strong desire for customer service improvements, which the TSP has promised as part of a long-term plan.