On November 27, 2002, the President signed Public Law 107-304, which permits eligible TSP participants who are age 50 or older to make tax-deferred "catch-up" contributions from their basic pay to their TSP accounts. These contributions are a supplement to the participant's regular employee contributions and do not count against the Internal Revenue Code's elective deferral limit of $12,000 in 2003. However, catch-up contributions have their own eligibility criteria and annual limit of $2,000 in 2003. Information regarding catch-up contributions, including the annual limits and eligibility criteria are available at https://www.abc.army.mil and The Thrift Savings Plan Fact Sheet, "Catch-Up Contributions" at http://www.tsp.gov/forms.
Beginning August 24, 2003, eligible Department of the Army civilian employees may make TSP catch-up contribution elections electronically via the Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS) web application at https://www.abc.army.mil/ or the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) automated telephone system at 1-877-276-9287 (see the Army Benefits Center - Civilian (ABC-C) Telephone Menu on the ABC-C web site for OCONUS phone numbers). Hard copy enrollment forms will not be accepted. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), the Department of Defense payroll system, will begin to process catch-up contribution deductions September 7, 2003.
Implementation of TSP catch-up contributions in all Federal agencies, has been dependent upon adaptation of personnel and payroll systems to allow for deduction of catch-up contributions. The automated enrollment systems EBIS and IVRS cannot be turned on to accept these elections until the data can flow to the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS) and on to the DFAS systems in the pay period following the one in which the election is made. The delay in implementing the program does not affect the maximum contribution amount of $2,000 for 2003. Eligible employees considering participation in this new benefit are encouraged to start thinking about deduction amounts if they intend to contribute the maximum $2,000 in 2003.
The ABC-C web site at https://www.abc.army.mil/ provides a "Hot" item with links to Question and Answers and detailed information about TSP catch-up contributions. ABC-C Counselors are available at 1-877-276-9287 to answer questions regarding TSP catch-up contributions.
Should you have any questions regarding this memorandum, please contact Sherry Smith, Policy and Program Development Division, Benefits and Entitlements Team. She may be reached by e-mail, Sherry.Smith3@us.army.mil, or by telephone at DSN 221-9984 or commercial 703-325-9984.
FOR THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, G-1: