U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: May 28, 2020
(a) Definitions generally applicable to the Thrift Savings Plan are set forth at 5 CFR 1690.1.
(b) As used in this part:
Amortization means the reduction in a loan by periodic payments of principal and interest according to a schedule of payments.
Date of application means the day on which the TSP record keeper receives the loan application, either electronically or on the TSP Web site or on a paper TSP form.
General purpose loan means any TSP loan other than a loan for the purchase or construction of a primary residence.
Guaranteed funds means a cashier's check, money order, certified check (i.e., a check certified by the financial institution on which it is drawn), cashier's draft, or treasurer's check from a credit union.
Loan issue date means the date on which the TSP record keeper disburses funds from the participant's account for the loan amount.
Loan repayment period means the time over which payments that are required to repay a loan in full are scheduled.
Principal or principal amount means the amount borrowed by a participant from his or her individual account, or, after reamortization, the amount financed.
Reamortization means the recalculation of periodic payments of principal and interest.
Residential loan means a TSP loan for the purchase or construction of a primary residence.
Taxable distribution means the amount of outstanding principal and interest on a loan which must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service as taxable income as a result of the failure of a participant to repay a loan in full, according to the terms of the loan agreement.
A participant can apply for a TSP general purpose or residential loan if:
(a) More than 60 calendar days have elapsed since the participant has repaid in full a TSP loan of the same type.
(b) The participant is in pay status;
(c) The participant is eligible to contribute to the TSP (or would be eligible to contribute but for the suspension of the participant's contributions because he or she obtained a financial hardship in-service withdrawal);
(d) The participant has at least $1,000 in employee contributions and attributable earnings in his or her account; and
(e) The participant has not had a TSP loan declared a taxable distribution within the last 12 months for any reason other than a separation from Government service.
Paragraph (b) of this section shall not apply to loan requests made during a Government shutdown by participants who are furloughed or excepted from furlough due to the Government shutdown.
Information concerning the cost of a loan is provided in the booklet TSP Loan Program (available on the TSP Web site, from the participant's personnel office or service, or from the TSP record keeper). From this information, a participant can determine the effects of a loan on his or her final account balance and can compare the cost of a loan to that of other sources of financing.
A participant may have no more than two loans outstanding from his or her TSP account at any time. One of the two outstanding loans may be a residential loan and the other one may be a general purpose loan. A participant with both a civilian TSP account and a uniformed services TSP account may have two outstanding loans from each account.
(a) Minimum. The minimum repayment period a participant may request for a loan is one year of scheduled payments.
(b) Maximum. The maximum repayment period a participant may request for a general purpose loan is five years of scheduled payments. The maximum repayment period a participant may request for a residential loan is 15 years of scheduled payments.
(a) Minimum amount. The initial principal amount of any loan may not be less than $1,000.
(b) Maximum amount. The principal amount of a new loan must be less than or equal to the smallest of the following:
(1) The portion of the participant's individual account balance that is attributable to employee contributions and attributable earnings (not including any outstanding loan principal);
(2) 50 percent of the participant's vested account balance (including any outstanding loan balance) or $10,000, whichever is greater, minus any outstanding loan balance; or
(3) $50,000 minus the participant's highest outstanding loan balance (if any) during the last 12 months.
(c) If a participant has both a civilian TSP account and a uniformed services TSP account, the maximum loan amount available will be based on a calculation that takes into consideration the account balances and outstanding loan balances for both accounts.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, loans will bear interest at the monthly G Fund interest rate established by the Department of the Treasury in effect on the date the TSP record keeper processes the paper application or on the date the request is entered on the TSP Web site.
(b) The interest rate calculated under this section remains fixed until the loan is repaid, unless a civilian participant informs the TSP record keeper that he or she entered into active duty military service, and, as a result, requests that the interest rate on a loan issued before entry into active duty military service be reduced to an annual rate of 6 percent for the period of such service. The civilian participant must provide the record keeper with the beginning and ending dates of active duty military service.
Information relating to any outstanding loan will be included on the quarterly participant statements.
(a) The amount borrowed will be removed from the participant's account when the loan is disbursed. Consequently, these funds will no longer generate earnings.
(b) The loan principal will be disbursed from that portion of the account represented by employee contributions and attributable earnings, pro rata from each TSP Fund in which the account is invested and pro rata from tax-deferred and tax-exempt balances.
(c) The loan principal will be disbursed pro rata from the participant's traditional and Roth balances. The disbursement from the traditional balance will be further pro rated between the tax-deferred balance and tax-exempt balance. The disbursement from the Roth balance will be further pro rated between contributions in the Roth balance and earnings in the Roth balance. In addition, all loan disbursements will be distributed pro rata from all TSP Funds in which the participant's account is invested. All pro rated amounts will be based on the balances in each TSP Fund or source of contributions on the day the disbursement is processed.
(d) Loan payments, including both principal and interest, will be credited to the participant's individual account. Loan payments will be credited to the appropriate TSP Fund in accordance with the participant's most recent contribution allocation. Loan payments will be credited to the participant's traditional and Roth balances in the same proportion that the loan was distributed from the participant's account.
(a) Any participant may apply for a loan by submitting a completed TSP loan application form to the TSP record keeper.
(b) The following participants may also apply for and complete a loan request on the TSP Web site:
(1) FERS participants or members of the uniformed services requesting a general purpose loan if they are:
(i) Unmarried; or
(ii) Married and have been granted an exception to the spousal requirements described in § 1655.18.
(2) CSRS participants requesting a general purpose loan if they are:
(ii) Married and provide a current address for their spouse; or
(iii) Married and have been granted an exception to the spousal requirements described in § 1655.18.
(c) Persons not described in paragraph (b) of this section may use the TSP Web site to submit a loan application and obtain a loan agreement, but must complete the process by submitting the resulting loan agreement and any related documentation on paper.
(d) If the TSP maintains a uniformed services account and a civilian account for an individual, a separate loan application must be made for each account.
The TSP record keeper will reject a loan application if:
(a) The participant is not qualified to apply for a loan under § 1655.2 or has failed to provide all required information on the loan application;
(b) The participant has the maximum number of loans outstanding under § 1655.4;
(c) The participant has a pending loan agreement or in-service withdrawal request;
(d) The amount of the requested loan is less than the minimum amount set forth in § 1655.6(a);
(e) A hold has been placed on the account pursuant to 5 CFR 1653.3(c); or
(f) The participant has received a taxable loan distribution from the TSP within the 12-consecutive-month period preceding the date of the application, unless the taxable distribution was the result of the participant's failure to repay the loan upon his or her separation from Government service.
(a) Upon determining that a loan application meets the requirements of this part, the TSP record keeper will provide the participant with the terms and conditions of the loan, as follows:
(1) If the participant submits a paper loan application, the TSP record keeper will mail the loan agreement, and other information as appropriate, to the participant.
(2) If the participant initiates a loan request on the TSP Web site, which cannot be completed on the Web site, the participant must print the partially completed loan agreement directly from the Web site, provide any missing information (including spouse's signature or documents supporting a residential loan request, if applicable), and submit it to the TSP record keeper.
(b) By signing the loan agreement, either electronically or on the form, the participant agrees to be bound by all of its terms and conditions, agrees to repay the loan by payroll deduction, and certifies, under penalty of perjury, to the truth and completeness of all statements made in the loan application and loan agreement to the best of his or her knowledge.
(c) For loans submitted on paper and those that cannot be completed on the TSP Web site, the TSP record keeper must receive the completed loan agreement (including any required supporting documentation) before the expiration date stated on the loan agreement or the agreement will not be processed.
(d) The signed loan agreement must be accompanied by:
(1) In the case of a residential loan, supporting materials that document the purchase or construction of the residence and the amount requested (as described in § 1655.20); and
(2) Any other information that the Executive Director may require.
(e) A participant may request that the loan be disbursed by direct deposit to a checking or savings account maintained by the participant in a financial institution by properly completing the required information on the loan agreement or on the TSP Web site, if the loan request can be completed on the Web site.
(a) When the completed loan agreement is signed electronically or returned by the participant to the TSP record keeper, together with any documentation required to be submitted, the loan will be initially approved or denied by the TSP record keeper based upon the requirements of this part, including the following conditions:
(1) The participant has signed the promise to repay the loan, has agreed to repay the loan through payroll deductions, and has certified that the information given is true and complete to the best of the participant's knowledge;
(2) Processing of the loan would not be prohibited by § 1655.19 relating to court orders;
(3) The spouse of a FERS or uniformed services participant has consented to the loan or, if the spouse's whereabouts are unknown or exceptional circumstances make it inappropriate to secure the spouse's consent, an exception to the spousal requirement described in § 1655.18 has been granted;
(4) The spouse of a CSRS participant has been given notice or, if the spouse's whereabouts are unknown, an exception to the spousal requirement described in § 1655.18 has been granted;
(5) When a paper agreement is required, the completed loan agreement, including all required supporting documentation, was received by the TSP record keeper before the expiration date specified on the loan agreement; and
(6) The participant has met any other conditions that the Executive Director may require.
(b) If approved, the loan will be issued unless:
(1) The participant's employing agency has reported the participant's separation from Government service;
(2) The TSP receives written notice that the participant has died;
(3) The participant's account balance on the loan issue date does not contain sufficient employee contributions and associated earnings to make a loan of at least $1,000;
(4) A hold on the account is processed before the loan is disbursed; or
(5) A taxable distribution on an outstanding loan is declared before the new loan is issued.
(c) If the loan is otherwise acceptable but the amount available to borrow is less than the requested amount (but is at least $1,000), the loan will be issued in the maximum amount available at the time of the disbursement. In such a case, the periodic payment amount will remain the same and the loan term may be shortened.
(d) The loan issue date is considered to be the date the loan was made.
(e) If a loan disbursement is returned as undeliverable, the TSP record keeper will attempt to locate the participant. If the participant does not respond within 60 days, the TSP will repay the loan with the returned loan proceeds.
(a) Loan payments must be made through payroll deduction in accordance with the loan agreement. Once loan payments begin, the employing agency cannot terminate the payroll deductions at the employee's request, unless the TSP instructs it to do so.
(b) The participant may make additional payments by mailing a personal check or guaranteed funds to the TSP record keeper. If the TSP receives a payment that repays the outstanding loan amount and overpays the loan by $10.00 or more, the overpayment will be refunded to the participant. Overpayments of less than $10 will be applied to the participant's account and will not be refunded. If a loan overpayment refund is returned as undeliverable, the TSP record keeper will attempt to locate the participant. If the participant does not respond within 60 days, the TSP will forfeit the overpayment refund to the Plan. The participant can claim the forfeited funds, although they will not be credited with TSP investment fund returns.
(c) The initial payment on a loan is due on or before the 60th day following the loan issue date. Interest accrues on the loan from the date of issuance.
(d) Subsequent payments are due at regular intervals as prescribed in the loan agreement, or most recent amortization, according to the participant's pay cycle.
(e) If a payment is not made when due, the TSP will notify the participant of the missed payment and the participant must make up the payment in full. If the participant does not make up all missed payments by the end of the calendar quarter following the calendar quarter in which the first payment was missed, the TSP will declare the loan to be a taxable distribution in accordance with § 1655.15. The participant's make-up payment must be in the form of a personal check or guaranteed funds.
(f) Interest will accrue on all missed payments and will be included in the calculation of any taxable distribution subsequently declared in accordance with § 1655.15. Interest will also accrue on payments missed while a participant is in nonpay status.
(a) The Board may declare any unpaid loan principal, plus unpaid interest, to be a taxable distribution from the Plan if:
(1) A participant is in a confirmed nonpay status for a period of one year or more, has not advised the TSP that he or she is serving on active military duty, and payments are not resumed after the participant is notified the loan has been reamortized;
(2) A participant separates from Government service and does not repay the outstanding loan principal and interest in full within the period specified by the notice to the participant from the TSP record keeper explaining the participant's repayment options;
(3) The TSP record keeper advises the participant that there are missing payments and the participant fails to make (by personal check or guaranteed funds) a direct payment of the entire missing amount or repayment in full by the deadline established in accordance with § 1655.14(e);
(4) Any material information provided in accordance with § 1655.10, § 1655.12, or § 1655.18 is found to be false;
(5) With the exception of a loan described in 5 CFR 1620.45, the loan is not repaid in full (including interest due) within five years, in the case of a general purpose loan, or within 15 years, in the case of a residential loan, from the loan issue date; or
(6) The participant dies.
(b) If a taxable distribution occurs in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, the Board will notify the participant of the amount and date of the distribution. The Board will report the distribution to the Internal Revenue Service as income for the year in which it occurs.
(c) If a participant dies and a taxable distribution occurs in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, the Board will notify the participant's estate of the amount and date of the distribution. Neither the estate nor any other person, including a beneficiary, may repay the loan of a deceased participant, nor can the funds be returned to the TSP.
(d) If, because of Board or TSP record keeper error, a TSP loan is declared a taxable distribution under circumstances that make such a declaration inconsistent with this part, or inconsistent with other procedures established by the Board or TSP record keeper in connection with the TSP loan program, the taxable distribution will be reversed. The participant will be provided an opportunity to reinstate loan payments or repay in full the outstanding balance on the loan.
(a) A participant may request reamortization of a loan at any time to change the amount of the payments, unless the loan is in a default status.
(b) Upon reamortization, the outstanding principal balance remains the same. Any accrued interest is paid off first before payments are applied to principal and current interest.
(c) The interest rate on a reamortized loan will be the same as the interest rate on the original loan.
(d) A participant may request reamortization by using the TSP Web site or by contacting a TSPSO participant service representative.
(e) When a participant's pay cycle changes for any reason, he or she should request a reamortization to adjust the scheduled payment to an equivalent amount in the new pay cycle. If the new pay cycle results in fewer payments per year and the participant does not reamortize the loan, the loan may be declared a taxable distribution pursuant to § 1655.15(a)(3).
(a) A participant may repay a loan in full, without a penalty, at any time before the declaration of a taxable distribution under § 1655.15, unless the participant has separated from Government service and has submitted a signed statement that he or she has forfeited the right to repay the loan in full. Repayment in full means receipt by the TSP record keeper of a payment, by personal check or guaranteed funds made payable to the Thrift Savings Plan, of all principal and interest due on the loan.
(b) If a participant returns a loan check to the TSP record keeper, it will be treated as a repayment; however, additional interest may be owed, which, if not paid, could result in a taxable distribution. The loan, even though repaid, will also be taken into account in determining the maximum amount available for future loans, in accordance with § 1655.6(b).
(c) The amount outstanding on a loan can be obtained from the TSP Web site, the ThriftLine, or a TSPSO participant service representative, or by a written request to the TSP record keeper.
(a) Spouse of CSRS participant. (1) Before a loan is disbursed to a CSRS participant, the TSP record keeper will send a notice to the participant's current spouse that the participant has applied for a loan.
(2) A CSRS participant may obtain an exception to the requirement described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section if the participant establishes, to the satisfaction of the Executive Director, that the spouse's whereabouts are unknown as described in paragraph (c) of this section.
(b) Spouse of FERS or uniformed services participant. (1) Before a loan agreement is approved for a FERS or uniformed services participant, the spouse must consent to the loan by signing the loan agreement.
(2) A FERS or uniformed services participant may obtain an exception to the requirement described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section if the participant establishes, to the satisfaction of the Executive Director, that:
(i) The spouse's whereabouts are unknown; or
(ii) Exceptional circumstances prevent the participant from obtaining the spouse's consent.
(c) Exception to spousal requirements. The procedures for obtaining an exception to the spousal requirements described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (b)(1) of this section are the same as the procedures described in 5 CFR part 1650, subpart G.
(d) Certification of truthfulness. (1) By signing the loan application and the loan agreement, electronically or on paper, the participant certifies, under penalty of perjury, that all information provided to the TSP during the loan process is true and complete, including statements concerning the participant's marital status, the spouse's address at the time the application is filed, or the current spouse's consent to the loan.
(2) If the Board receives a written allegation from the spouse that the participant may have misrepresented his or her marital status or the spouse's address (in the case of a CSRS participant), or that the signature of the spouse of a FERS participant was forged, the Board will submit the information or document in question to the spouse and request that he or she state in writing that the information is false or that the spouse's signature was forged. In the event of an alleged forgery, the Board will also request the spouse to provide at least three samples of his or her signature.
(3) If the spouse affirms the allegation, in accordance with the procedure set forth in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, and the loan has been disbursed, the Board will give the participant an opportunity to repay the unpaid loan principal and interest within 60 days. If the loan is repaid during this period, the Board will not investigate the spouse's allegation.
(4) Paragraph (d)(3) of this section will not apply if the participant has received a final divorce decree before the Thrift Savings Plan receives the funds.
(5) If the unpaid loan principal and interest are not repaid to the Plan in full within the time period provided in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, the Board will conduct an investigation into the allegation. If the participant has received a final divorce decree before the Thrift Savings Plan receives the funds, the Board will begin its investigation immediately.
(6) If, during its investigation, the Board finds evidence to suggest that the participant misrepresented his or her marital status or spouse's address (in the case of a CSRS participant), or submitted the loan agreement with a forged signature, the Board will refer the case to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution and, if the participant is still employed, to the Inspector General or other appropriate authority in the participant's employing agency for administrative action.
(7) Upon receipt of an allegation described in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, the participant's account will be frozen and no loan will be permitted until after:
(i) Thirty (30) days have elapsed since the participant's spouse was sent a copy of the information or document in question, and the Board has received no written affirmation of the alleged false information or forgery (together with signature samples, if required);
(ii) The loan is repaid pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section;
(iii) The Executive Director concludes that the Board's investigation did not yield persuasive evidence that supports the spouse's allegation;
(iv) The Executive Director has been assured in writing by the spouse that any future request for a loan or withdrawal comports with the applicable requirement of notice or consent; or
(v) The participant is divorced.
Upon receipt of a document that purports to be a qualifying retirement benefits court order, qualifying legal process relating to a participant's legal obligation to provide child support or to make alimony payments, or a qualifying child abuse order, the participant's TSP account will be frozen. After the account is frozen, no loan will be allowed until the account is unfrozen. The Board's procedures for processing court orders and legal processes are explained in 5 CFR part 1653.
(a) A residential loan will be made only for the purchase or construction of the primary residence of the participant, or for the participant and his or her spouse, and for related purchase costs. The participant must actually bear all or part of the cost of the purchase. If the participant purchases a primary residence with someone other than his or her spouse, only the portion of the purchase costs that is borne by the participant will be considered in making the loan. A residential loan will not be made for the purpose of paying off an existing mortgage or otherwise providing financing for a primary residence purchased more than 2 years before the date of the loan application.
(b) The participant's primary residence is his or her principal residence. A primary residence may include a house, a townhouse, a condominium, a share in a cooperative housing corporation, a mobile home, a boat, or a recreational vehicle; a primary residence does not include a second home or vacation home. A participant cannot have more than one primary residence.
(c) Purchase of a primary residence means acquisition of the residence through the exchange of cash or other property or through the total construction of a new residence. A residential loan will not be made for a lease-to-buy option, unless the option to buy is being exercised. Construction of an addition to or the renovation of a residence or the purchase of land only does not constitute the purchase of a primary residence.
(d) Related purchase costs are any costs that are incurred directly as a result of the purchase or construction of a residence and which can be added to the basis of the residence for Federal tax purposes. Points or loan origination fees charged for a loan, whether or not they are treated as part of the basis, are not considered a purchase cost. Real estate taxes cannot be included.
(e) The documentation required for a loan under this section is as follows:
(1) For all purchases, except for construction, a copy of a home purchase contract or a settlement sheet; or
(2) For construction, a home construction contract. If a single home construction contract is unavailable, other contracts, building permits, receipts, assessments, or other documentation that demonstrates the construction of an entire primary residence and expenses in the amount of the loan may be accepted at the discretion of the Executive Director.
(f) The documentation provided under this section must:
(1) Be from a third party;
(2) Show the participant as the purchaser or builder;
(3) Show the purchase price or construction price;
(4) Show the full address of the residence; and
(5) Bear a date that is no more than 24 months preceding the expiration date of the loan agreement.