Q. If I elect a set monthly withdrawal instead of an annuity, what happens if I should pass away before I have taken all of my TSP? Do I have to take the annuity option for my spouse to receive any survivor benefit or the remaining balance?
A. Your remaining TSP balance will be paid to the beneficiary(ies) designated for the account. You should not use the money to buy an annuity if you want this to happen. If you buy an annuity with the money, then your spouse will be entitled to receive any survivor benefit that you have purchased for the annuity. There is no residual value from an immediate annuity contract, since you remove the money from your TSP account and use it to pay an insurance premium when you buy the annuity.