The TSP has said it is continuing to work to carry out changes in withdrawal policies enacted into law late in 2017 but has offered no schedule for when they will kick in.
Those changes include allowing more than one partial withdrawal after separation for retirement or other reasons; allowing more than one “age-based” withdrawal for those still working after age 59 ½; and creating more ways to take “substantially equal” withdrawals, including to change the amounts at any time rather than just once a year and to take payouts quarterly or annual in addition to monthly.
Congress last year passed that law on the TSP’s suggestion out of concern that high percentages of investors transfer their money out of the program, commonly into IRAs, after separation to have more flexibility in their withdrawals.
“There are substantial programming changes and form revisions to be made just to make it possible for participants to take advantage of the new options. And there are many publications and web pages that will need to be changed to reflect our new policy and new procedures,” it said in a new fact sheet. “Also, as a government agency, we have to publish any policy decisions that are necessary to implement new legislation in publicly accessible regulations.”
The law gave the TSP two years to put those changes in place; the TSP said it intends to beat that deadline but that it doesn’t “have a specific date to announce.” For the meantime, it said, withdrawals remain subject to the traditional policies. However, those already taking monthly “substantially equal” withdrawals under will be eligible for the new policies when they take effect.
It also mentions for the first time a planned change that was not part of the law but that the TSP will carry out under its own authority: allowing account holders who have both traditional and Roth balances to specify how much of a partial withdrawal they want taken from each type of balance. Under current policy, withdrawals must be taken proportionately from each.