TSP survivor benefit



Q. I’m a FERS employee planning to leave my Thrift Saving Plan in place after I retire and draw an allotment for my remaining years. I’ve done some research, but I’m still unsure what happens to my TSP balance (in the event there is one) when I die. Assuming I have correctly designated beneficiaries, do they have access to the remaining balance in a lump sum? Are the rules different for a surviving spouse for whom I have designated no survivor benefit than they would be for say, an adult offspring or other designated beneficiary? Finally, this is pre-tax money, so what factors determine the tax rate that a beneficiary will incur in the event they are able to collect the remainder of the balance?

A. The rules are fairly complex, and you should review these documents for a detailed explanation: https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tspbk31.pdf and https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-583.pdf.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com and view his blog at money.federaltimes.com.

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