TSP Loosens Emergency Withdrawal Rules for Feds Affected By Irma

Marine One flies over areas affected by Hurricane Irma. Marine One flies over areas affected by Hurricane Irma. Evan Vucci/AP

The administrators of federal employees’ 401(k)-style retirement savings plan have relaxed the rules for workers to dip into their savings for the second time this month, after Hurricane Irma caused flooding in multiple cities in Florida earlier this week.

The Thrift Savings Plan announced announced Wednesday that it is loosening the regulations governing “financial hardship” withdrawals, which give employees with certain medical, legal or property expenses early access to savings in their retirement accounts, so that those impacted by Irma can make use of the provision.

TSP officials made a similar rule change for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which crashed into the Texas coast late last month. As with the Harvey dispensation, the Irma declaration also waives the rule prohibiting employees from contributing to their TSP accounts for six months after taking a hardship withdrawal.

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In order to be eligible, an applicant must be a current employee of the federal government, must live or work in a location that is part of a declared disaster area and must have incurred a loss as a result of the storm. An exception to the location rule is if one is withdrawing money to help a family member whose home or workplace was impacted by Irma.

All withdrawal requests under the Irma dispensation must be submitted by Jan. 24, and they must be distributed by Jan. 31. Requests must be for at least $1,000 and employees cannot apply for another withdrawal for at least six months.

Officials encouraged people to contact the TSP’s ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778 with any questions about the program or the rule change. The TSP website includes a checklist of required forms and procedures needed to make a withdrawal under the Irma rule change.

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