Temporary changes made to TSP rules to help California wildfire survivors
(Photo: US National Guard, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Cossel)

Just a few weeks ago, California’s wine country endured a massive, swift wildfire that destroyed homes, possessions, and, in some cases, lives. Families now working to rebuild their lives from the ashes may need an infusion of cash. Some may want to access their TSP fund in order to begin the process. Now, a temporary change by TSP has made that possible without penalty under certain circumstances.

Those who wish to use the rule change will need to meet one of two primary criteria:

  1. The participant’s primary residence or place of employment must be located in the disaster area that has been designated by TSP and has experienced loss from the wildfire in California.
  2. The funds withdrawn by the participant must be used to assist a family member in the TSP-designated disaster area who is impacted and experiencing a loss from the wildfire.

After making a hardship withdrawal, participants will also be able to make employee contributions regularly. The the prohibition of such contributions after a hardship withdrawal has been waived.

Withdrawals are not retroactive and must happen within a strict timeline. The hardship withdrawal rule changes began November, requests must be received by TSP by March 8, 2018, and withdrawals must take place by March 15, 2018. One withdrawal per participant is allowable under this change.

Participants must also meet other requirements first before applying for the waiver. You can find out more information on TSP’s official website.

By J.G. Noll