Rehirees Free from TSP Investment Restrictions

Although retirees generally may not make new investments in the Thrift Savings Plan, those rehired by the government may do so.

A rehired annuitant generally can invest in the TSP under the same terms as any active employee, including eligibility for government contributions if under the FERS program. The annual maximum is $16,500 this year, rising to $17,000 in 2012. (Note: Those hired under one of the special authorities allowing receipt of both full pay and an annuity should check their status; in many cases such persons cannot invest in the TSP as rehired annuitants.)

In addition, “catch-up contributions” to the TSP are allowed for actively employed investors age 50 and above—regardless of whether they have been employed continuously or left for retirement or other purposes and then came back. The dollar limit is $5,500 this year and will remain the same in 2012.

The TSP can only accept catch-up contributions for the current year; retroactive contributions are not allowed, so a rehired annuitant who missed a year of catch-up eligibility while retired could not recoup the opportunity. Nor do catch-up contribution elections carry over from one year to the next.