Most FedSmith Readers Reported Fewer Problems Using New TSP Website

Despite a tumultuous launch, responses from FedSmith readers to our latest survey indicate they are having fewer problems using the new TSP website.

Most FedSmith readers indicated in our latest survey, conducted after the initial introductory period, that they have not recently experienced many problems with using the new TSP website that included a number of new features when it was launched at the start of June.

That does not, however, mean that there have not been any problems. Some respondents to our latest survey indicated that they did encounter issues, and there were a number of comments shared which offered additional details about the problems that some users were having with the new TSP website.

The problems that were reported generally reflect what has been more widely covered since the launch of the new website at the start of June. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), for example, has issued several press releases in which she has stated that she continues to receive contact from some constituents with reports of long wait times or even being unable to get through to the TSP’s customer support line as well as information missing inside of their TSP accounts.

She inquired about the problems with the FRTIB and received a response but said she found it unsatisfactory. She then followed up with a meeting with the FRTIB director and will have regular recurring meetings with him. She has even suggested the possibility of a Congressional hearing over the situation and now wants a GAO investigation of the problems with the new online system.

Given some of the damning reports of problems with the new TSP website, we were curious what the experience of our readers has been. This is a summary of the results of our recent survey.

Survey Results

Out of almost 1,200 responses, 78% of respondents said that they were able to successfully login to their TSP accounts after the rollout of the TSP website updates.

There were more issues with setting up the new My Account login, however. 52% said that they did not have any trouble with this process, so nearly half did experience a problem.

With respect to beneficiaries, just over half of respondents (51%) said they did not have any missing or incomplete beneficiary information in their TSP accounts. However, 39% said that they did. The remaining 10% responded “N/A – unable to access website.”

Conducting Transactions

With respect to being able to conduct transactions on the new TSP website, 56% of respondents said that they had not tried to conduct any transactions. Respondents who were and were not able to conduct transactions was split evenly at 19%. Only 6% of respondents said “N/A – unable to access website.”

53% of respondents said that they had not lost any money or incurred additional charges as a result of being unable to access their accounts and/or to conduct transactions. Another 33% said that they did not know if this was the case or not, and only 14% said this had been a problem for them.

Nearly all respondents (94%) said that they had not missed any scheduled withdrawals or payments since the new website was launched.

Contacting TSP Customer Support

Most respondents (64%) said that they had not called TSP customer support. Given the other responses in the survey, this suggests that these respondents were not having problems with their TSP accounts and therefore did not need to get support.

However, other respondents did call customer support and reported on the amount of time they spent waiting on hold. Of those who did have to wait on hold, the most common reported wait time was 1-3 hours:

30 minutes or less1.6%
30-60 minutes3.6%
1-3 hours17.6%
3-5 hours6.8%
5-8 hours2.1%
8-10 hours1.1%
over 10 hours3.7%

Comments from FedSmith Readers

A number of our readers have shared comments about their experiences with the new TSP website on various articles we have posted about it. Some indicated that they had no problems with the TSP website per se, but just did not like the new design and changes for various reasons (i.e. it was different, harder to find information, etc). Other comments indicated more serious problems, however.

The following are a sampling of comments left on recent FedSmith articles:

I was able to log in just fine and I can see my account balance pretty easily (though who really wants to see the current drops because of the stock market and economy?). What I can’t figure out is where I can change my tax withholding and change my monthly payments. It just seems impossible to figure that out and the online help system is completely worthless in that respect.

Dana Kiehl

The old site was much easier to access and navigate. This new site not only took much of my time to secure access, but once I did gain access I encountered the following issues:

I had to update my BENEFICIARIES, but could not find the form I used in the past to update the beneficiaries. I found out the new system is not set up to accept beneficiary updates via a form. We must use a new online tool that e-mails our witnesses our update for the witness to digitally sign that I requested a beneficiary update. One problem is that my first witness cannot open the form to digitally sign because they have an internet browser that does not support the witness form. So, I had to get a different witness with an updated browser. Another problem is the witness(es) that are e-mailed get to save and keep my update in beneficiaries (in their browser and available to save and print). When we used the form, I did not need to give the witness a copy.

The statements for prior quarters and years are still not on the new site.

I still do not know how to access comparisons of yields by period of time and by fund (as I could with the prior site). 

I received e-mails and letters telling me my “account was claimed” and that my contact information “was updated”. The verbiage worried me. So I signed in again just to confirm there was not contact information other than mine.

Luckily, we received notifications of when the system was going down. I was able to quickly rollover half of my funds into a private account. I’m not sure I could do that as quickly with this new system.


I have not been able to re-register my account. I have called the ThriftLine several times, each time having to wait an hour or more to reach someone, and have gotten nowhere. I have been told that they could not verify my account (I have given them my name, birth date, Social Security number, and offered to provide my account number–what more do they need). They attempted to send me a four-digit code by text to help verify that I was the owner, but found, for some reason, that they could not. The account has been, in effect, frozen since late May. I have wanted to change my allocation among the stock funds, but have been unable to do so. I have become so disgusted with the TSP that I have decided to transfer my balance to my IRA, but, of course, I cannot now do that. The transition to the new and improved TSP has been a disaster, a typical government foul-up. The old version, although not perfect, worked fairly well. If something ain’t broke don’t fix it.

B. Graham

I was initially unable to access my account. After being on hold for over 3 hours, I spoke with a customer service representative. The solution for me: changing web browsers. I was able to get in using MOZILLA FIREFOX (instead of GOOGLE CHROME). Hopefully they have fixed the web browser problem by now.

Justin Bowers

I haven’t had any problems with the new site, but I wish they had announced more clearly that most of the historical info would not transfer over. They said it in one email, but it was down at the bottom of a very long email that I probably didn’t read all the way through at the time. I know, my fault for not reading all the way through, but more emphasis would’ve been nice so I would have known to download all of my statements.


Cannot figure out how to change my loan payment amounts. On the old site you could re amortize the loan so your biweekly payment amount could be changed. Can’t figure it out from their site and don’t have time to wait an hour plus to speak to someone!


I have called the TSP three times, and waited on the phone one hour or so, at which point the TSP drops the call. I finally got through this morning, after waiting 20 minutes, after calling at 7 AM. The TSP representative told me she could not help me because I had a question about what happened to my withdrawal request. In turn, she transferred me to another department, and my call was dropped after one hour.


Very long wait times. Had to verbally make a change which has not been confirmed so must wait until next deposit to see if went through. Cannot correct wife’s DOB online (previously on file)- evidently I must CALL to tell them she wasn’t born in 1800. After making a call to change disbursement, received an email to call & waited 75 minutes only to hear they wanted to tell me the have my request. Even the customer service rep was frustrated by that. Couldn’t their email have stated that & saved me 75 minutes? Could not update beneficiaries online.


I recently completed the and linked my TSP to it, but now I’m unable to log into my TSP. The site says either my login or password is incorrect, but doesn’t say which is incorrect, and I’ve confirmed several times that both are correct.

I’ve read all the horror stories about how difficult it is to contact TSP, so I’m holding off on making the phone call until things cool down. This appears to be another government failure on developing an easy-to-use website.


I, like many others, had trouble setting up a new login, but after receiving a mailed temporary passcode, was able to establish a new login and access my TSP information without a problem.

Like many of you, I found the information presented on the revised website confusing as compared to the old layout.

But logging in again this morning, and cruising around the TSP website to further familiarize myself with its new features, I am starting to grow more comfortable with it. It didn’t take me long to find a pie chart showing my current investment mix (just like the old website had), and the method of changing the investment mix doesn’t appear much different than the old system. Changing/adding beneficiaries looks to be like it might actually be easier than with the old system, although admittedly I haven’t actually tried it yet. I have heard of problems with that part of the system specifically, but I expect that if those issues still exist as of this writing, they should be fixed soon.

meat inspector

Major malfunction. The fund balance “Reports” previously easily accessible now require a “Report.” but the pdf “Reports” aren’t opening. We need user friendly transparency. The ability to contact TSP on line (email) has been taken away too.


When I try to create a login account I get this message:
“We were unable to verify your identity. Contact the ThriftLine”.

When I first called about this the first wave of customer service representatives wasted time trying to fix it using their customer service scripts. Despite telling them I’ve done this already I’ve been told to clear browser data, try it on Edge (I use Chrome), and reboot my system. At first I’ve humored them on the off chance that they were right. I’ve already tried this using different devices, browsers and operating systems. The problem is on TSPs end.

They are beholden to their scripts; the all knowing oracles of debugging. Once they commit to them you will be stuck on the call for 15 unnecessary minutes, until they accept that they can do nothing for you and finally put you on hold for a supervisor.

3 hours (or more) later a “supervisor” finally gets on the call and tries to use their script to fix it and eventually they realize they can’t. Once I realized they take notes I just tell them to read the notes from the previous calls. They seem to think they are the first rep you have talked to and have no idea how long you have been on hold. One of them actually did the smart thing and replicated what I was doing instead of trying to use their script. When I suggested this to a previous rep I think I blew his mind – Can’t do it – It is not on the script.

Some of the reps are smart. Some of them have no idea how TSP or the retirement system works. The clueless ones are the ones causing the long call wait times for everyone. Worse of all they have no power or access to fix anything so you end up wasting time calling the ThriftLine.

15 plus hours on the phone. Most of it on hold. 11 customer service representatives. None of them could resolve this problem.


About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.