Fedweek

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Among the key dollar-amount changes for federal employees as of 2022 is that the dollar limit on investments in the TSP, the “elective deferral limit,” is rising by $1,000 to $20,500.

Meanwhile, the “catch-up contribution” limit is remaining unchanged at $6,500. That is an additional investment allowed for investors who are at least age 50 during the year—or will be by the end of the calendar year—who have reached the standard dollar limit or who are on an investing pace to reach it by the end of the year.

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In both cases the figures affect personal investments only and don’t include government contributions for those under FERS or any transfers into the TSP from retirement savings accounts from prior employers. However, for those investing in both traditional (tax-free on investment, taxable on withdrawal) and Roth (after-tax on investment, tax-free on withdrawal so long as certain conditions are met) balances, the limits apply to the combination of both.

Employees under FERS also should note that to capture the maximum government contributions, they need to pace their investments so that they are able to invest at least 5 percent of salary in each pay period of the year. If they hit their maximum before that, their investments will shut off, as will agency matching contributions—although the automatic 1 percent agency contribution would continue. There is no such consideration for CSRS employees, who get no government contributions.

Other key numbers affecting federal employees and retirees, include:

* The interest paid in the voluntary contribution retirement savings program available to CSRS (but not FERS) employees is holding steady at 1.375 percent in 2022. That rate also applies as the interest rate for required deposits and redeposits into the retirement fund to get credit for service for which no contributions were taken or for which refunds were received at a break in service, as well payments as to capture credit toward federal retirement for military service time, for those eligible.

* The maximum tax-free amount allowable under the public transit subsidy program is rising from $270 to $280 a month. Policies vary among agencies and among locations within agencies, in some cases as set in labor-management contracts. Some pay a subsidy in the form of passes or vouchers purchased by the agency and others allow employees to reduce their pre-tax income by an amount equal to their transit or van pool expenses up to the maximum. The much-less-used tax-free benefit for parking at a transit subsidy is rising in the same way.

* The maximum in health care flexible spending accounts has risen by from $2,750 to $2,850. FSA elections for 2022 were made during the recent open season, although changes are allowed during a plan year for those who experience certain life events such a change in marital status or a change in the number of eligible dependents. The maximum of $5,000 for a dependent care FSA has remained the same.

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