GAO Agrees to Investigate TSP Website Problems

GAO has agreed to investigate the recent problems that have plagued the TSP since the launch of the new website and features in June.

The Government Accountability Office has agreed to look into problems stemming from the recent rollout of the new TSP website and the associated problems that federal employees and retirees have reported with using the new system since it went online at the start of June.

A group of Democrats in the House of Representatives called for the investigation after hearing complaints from their constituents about various problems they were having with the new TSP system. Reported problems have ranged from very long hold times when trying to call the TSP’s customer support number to missing or incomplete information in their TSP accounts or even problems accessing or withdrawing money from accounts.

“We request that the Government Accountability Office conduct a comprehensive examination of the new Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) online system, including the planning, contract award and implementation, as well as oversight by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB),” the lawmakers stated in their letter sent last month.

GAO issued a response earlier this month agreeing to conduct the investigation. The agency said that it should be able to begin its investigation in about three months.

“GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority. At the current time we anticipate that staff with the required skills will be available to initiate an engagement in about three months,” wrote GAO in its letter.

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) said in a statement, “Since the new TSP system launched, my team and I have heard from many of Virginia’s federal employees and retirees about personal issues they are experiencing with the system. I hope that the impending review of these outstanding issues will come as welcomed news to the dedicated public servants who are experiencing issues, and I look forward to monitoring the progress and findings made by the agency.”

Spanberger is one of the House lawmakers who requested the GAO review of the TSP website problems.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said when she originally proposed the GAO investigation of the TSP’s problems, “I am deeply concerned about the widespread problems with the new TSP online system. I hear daily from constituents about the many problems with the new system. I will continue to demand immediate fixes to the problems, but we need to understand how this debacle occurred and to create new accountability mechanisms at the FRTIB, which is why I am requesting a GAO report and introducing legislation to create an inspector general at the FRTIB.”

Norton held a meeting with FRTIB executive director Ravindra Deo who committed to sending weekly updates about the status of the situation with the TSP to her.

She said at the time, “I will be watching to see whether my constituents see any improvement with the system, looking closely at the weekly updates from the FRTIB, and continuing to insist on fixes and accountability. I indicated the possibility of seeking a House hearing if improvements are not made more quickly.”

The FRTIB said in its latest monthly meeting that the number of calls to the TSP’s customer support center were up approximately 400% in June 2022 compared to June 2021. The agency added many more customer support representatives as a result to try and deal with the surge. They added, however, that it would be until at least mid to late August before the call volume at its call center returned to normal operations.

GAO Letter Agreeing to Investigation of TSP Website Problems

August 3, 2022

Congressional Requesters:

Thank you for your letter requesting that the Government Accountability Office review matters relating to the new Thrift Savings Plan online system, including the planning, contract award and implementation, as well as oversight by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority. At the current time we anticipate that staff with the required skills will be available to initiate an engagement in about three months. Your request has been assigned to Mr. Nicholas H. Marinos, Managing Director, Information Technology and Cybersecurity. Closer to the time GAO can start this engagement, Mr. Marinos or a member of his team will contact the staff points of contact to confirm that this request continues to be your priority for us. As applicable, we will also be in contact with the cognizant Inspector General’s office to ensure that we are not duplicating efforts. If an issue arises during this coordination, we will consult with you regarding its resolution.

Sincerely yours, 

A. Nicole Clowers 
Managing Director 
Congressional Relations

About the Author

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