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Understanding Agency Contributions


Who is entitled to receive agency contributions?


What does "vesting" mean?




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Who is entitled to receive agency contributions?  Return to Top of this Page

Among civilian TSP participants, only FERS employees are entitled to receive agency contributions.  If you are a FERS employee, your agency makes two different types of contributions to your TSP account as part of your FERS benefits.  These contributions are not taken out of your pay, nor do they increase your pay for income tax or Social Security purposes.

First, when you become eligible for agency contributions, your agency will automatically contribute to your TSP account an amount equal to 1 percent of your basic pay each pay period.  These are your Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions.  You will receive these contributions whether or not you contribute your own money to your TSP account.

Second, if you are contributing to your TSP account, your agency also makes Agency Matching Contributions once you are eligible for them.  If you do not contribute your own money, you will not receive Agency Matching Contributions.  Matching contributions apply to the first five percent of pay that you contribute each pay period.  Your contributions are matched dollar-for-dollar on the first three percent of pay you contribute each pay period and 50 cents on the dollar for the next two percent of pay.  Your agency will not match the contributions that you make above five percent of your pay.  However, you will still benefit from before-tax savings and tax-deferred earnings on those contributions.

The fact that your agency adds to your contributions will make your TSP account grow faster.  Your Agency Automatic (1%) and Matching Contributions can add up to five percent of your basic pay.  Here's how it works:

Percent of Basic Pay Contributed to Your Account
(FERS Employees Only)

You put in:

Your agency puts in:

And the total 
contribution is:



0% 1% 0% 1%
1% 1% 1% 3%
2% 1% 2% 5%
3% 1% 3% 7%
4% 1% 3.5% 8.5%
5% 1% 4% 10%
Amounts that you contribute above 5% are not matched.

What does "vesting" mean?  Return to Top of this Page

Vesting means that you have met the service requirements that entitle you to keep the Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions and their earnings when you leave Federal service.  Vesting does not apply to any other types of contributions.  Therefore:

  • FERS and CSRS participants are always vested in their own contributions and the earnings on their contributions.  
  • FERS participants are always vested in the matching contributions their agencies make, as well as the earnings on the matching contributions.

Most FERS employees become vested in their Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions after completing 3 years of Federal civilian service.  FERS employees in congressional and certain noncareer positions become vested in their Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions after completing 2 years of civilian service.

All Federal civilian service counts toward vesting in your TSP account — not just your service while you are a TSP participant.  Service covered by USERRA also counts toward vesting.  If you are a FERS participant, your agency reports your TSP Service Computation Date (TSP-SCD), which is used by the TSP record keeper to determine whether you are vested.  Your TSP-SCD is shown on your participant statement; if you believe it is incorrect or have questions about it, contact your personnel office. (Your TSP-SCD will never be earlier than January 1, 1984.)

If you leave Federal service before satisfying the vesting requirement for your Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions, those contributions and the earnings on them will be forfeited to the TSP.

If you die before separating from service, you will automatically be considered vested in your TSP account.

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