TSP Relaxes Hardship Withdrawal Rules for Hurricane Maria Victims

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By on October 5, 2017 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments
A Puerto Rico National Guard soldier helps transport food and water to Jayuya, Puerto Rico

A Puerto Rico National Guard soldier helps transport food and water to Jayuya, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017, while supporting Hurricane Maria relief efforts. (Army National Guard photo by Sgt. José Ahiram Díaz-Ramos)

The TSP has followed suit as it did for the last two hurricanes and is relaxing the rules governing hardship withdrawals to help those who were impacted by Hurricane Maria.

Effective October 4, 2017, the TSP will treat any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request (Form TSP-76) received by its office on or before January 24, 2018 as qualifying for a hardship withdrawal. The distributions must occur before January 31, 2018 to qualify for the relaxed rules.

Eligibility

Participants have to meet one of the following criteria:

The participant’s primary residence or place of employment is located in a covered disaster area and has incurred a loss as a result of Hurricane Maria OR the participant’s hardship withdrawal will be used to assist an eligible family member who lives or works in a covered disaster area and who has incurred a loss as a result of Hurricane Maria.

Additionally, participants must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • The participant must be actively employed with the federal government.
  • The participant must complete Form TSP-76, Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request.
  • The participant must write “Hurricane Maria” at the top of page 1 above the name of the form.
  • The participant must check the “Personal Casualty Loss” box on page 2, Item 18 of the request form, as the reason for requesting financial hardship.
  • The participant request must be received by the TSP by January 24, 2018 and, in compliance with IRS guidelines, the distribution must occur before January 31, 2018. Any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request forms received after January 24, 2018 will be processed as a standard hardship withdrawal, and the participant’s TSP contributions will automatically stop for 6 months.

If all requirements are met, the TSP will then waive the rule that prohibits a participant from making employee contributions for 6 months after taking a hardship withdrawal. This will allow an employee to continue to make contributions to the TSP and receive the employer match (if eligible). This temporary change will not be effective retroactively.

If the participant wants to stop TSP contributions, he or she must complete Form TSP-1 or use the applicable automated system.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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