TSP seeks to administer death benefits more efficiently

The board that manages the federal employee 401(k)-style retirement plan on Friday proposed a regulation to speed the processing of death benefits, reduce errors and prevent fraud.

The draft rule, published in the Federal Register, would require Thrift Savings Plan participants to include details such as account numbers, Social Security numbers and birth dates on forms designating beneficiaries. Currently, participants often omit such information, making it difficult and time-intensive after they die to locate their account or the intended beneficiary.

"Because a deceased participant's TSP account is an important asset to a participant's beneficiaries, the agency believes these new requirements are critical to ensuring that the participant's wishes are properly realized," the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board stated.

TSP administrators have developed a new beneficiary form with detailed instructions to accompany the policy change. In an effort to prevent abuse, the policy also would require each page of the form to be free of significant alterations.

Participants with both civilian and military accounts would be able to submit a single form to name beneficiaries for both, reducing paperwork.

The deadline for comments on the proposal is July 19. They can be faxed to the TSP board at (202) 942-1676, submitted through Regulations.gov or mailed to:

Thomas K. Emswiler, General Counsel
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
1250 H St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005

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