TSP Woes Continue Two Weeks After Tech Transition
Participants reported delayed account disbursements a full two weeks after the transition to a new recordkeeper was complete.
Two weeks after officials with the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program completed a long-awaited transition to a new recordkeeper, updates to the Thrift Savings Plan’s web site continue to present problems for participants, with some issues now impacting payments to federal retirees.
Multiple TSP participants told Government Executive that distributions that were scheduled to be deposited in their bank accounts on Wednesday were delayed. One participant said they were told the delay would only be for 24 hours, but a second participant said that although their payment was processed by Thursday morning, it would not actually be deposited into their bank account until June 21.
The delay of payments to at least some retirees marks the most serious complication of a project that was intended to improve participants’ online experience managing their TSP accounts. The new recordkeeper was touted as a way to keep participants’ accounts more secure, while making it easier to do things like roll over money from other retirement accounts, sign documents electronically, and access and make account changes from a mobile phone.
In addition to struggles some participants encountered setting up accounts on the new version of TSP.gov, federal workers and retirees said that beneficiaries they had designated under the old system no longer appeared, they were unable to access old account statements, and the new site miscalculates the maximum amount a participant can borrow through a TSP loan.
The TSP did not immediately respond to questions about delayed payments to participants Thursday. But earlier this week, TSP spokeswoman Kim Weaver apologized once again for the frustration some participants have encountered, but stressed the magnitude of effort required to move to a new recordkeeper, and noted that TSP officials warned the transition would be “bumpy.”
“During this transition, we converted more than 26.3 billion records for 6.6 million TSP participants and balanced—to the penny—around $743 billion in assets in our new environment,” she said. “We began processing payroll data on day one and handled over 4.6 million transactions representing $1.6 billion in payroll contributions in the first week alone.”
Weaver acknowledged that a “subset” of participants’ beneficiary information did not transfer to the new system properly, but said the TSP will honor beneficiaries designated under the old system if needed. She said employees are working to address issues as quickly as possible, and some of those efforts have begun to bear fruit.
“As a result of changes we’ve made, we are seeing a reduction in the number of participants having difficulties creating accounts online,” she said. “Roughly 90% of participants who have tried to log in are successful—on June 1, that was 75%. The new log-in process is designed to make a safe system even safer. The new security enhancements are in response to the continuing growth in cyber crime—they’re building taller ladders, and we are building higher walls.”
The TSP has added a list of known issues to its website, along with tips for dealing with them, particularly in light of the perpetually long queues for the agency’s customer service phone line. The agency encouraged participants to check to make sure their beneficiary information is accurate and, if not, to update it accordingly, and said that historical account statements dating back 10 years should become available by “mid-June.”
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