The federal employee Thrift Savings Plan on Friday announced that it will ease the process of making financial hardship withdrawals from retirement savings for victims of the recent storms in Louisiana.
Federal employees and military members who live or are employed in the disaster area and have experienced a loss as a result of the storms will qualify for in-service financial hardship withdrawals, and will not be subject to a rule that normally prohibits employee contributions to TSP accounts for six months following such withdrawals. TSP participants can also withdraw money to help eligible family members recovering from the storms.
Those who wish to take advantage of this loosening of the rules should complete form TSP-76, writing “Louisiana storms” at the top of the form and checking “personal casualty loss” on page 2, item 18 as the reason for requesting the withdrawal. There is a limit of one withdrawal per participant, and requests must be received by Jan. 10, 2017, with distributions occurring before Jan. 17, 2017.
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Though participants will not be required to stop making employee contributions to their TSP accounts after withdrawing money to help flood victims, they can elect to do so, using form TSP-1. Click here for more information from TSP on making withdrawals.
Hardship withdrawals from TSP are not the only tool available to federal employees suffering damage from the August storms and flooding, which killed at least 13 people. The nonprofit Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund offers grants to civil servants to repair damage from natural disasters. FEEA also provides no-interest loans of up to $1,200 to help with emergencies.
Federal employees can also donate their vacation days to colleagues adversely affected by the storms, the Office of Personnel Management noted in recent guidance on emergency workforce flexibilities available during hurricane season. Click here for OPM’s rundown of benefits that may be used during extreme weather.