If your appointment confers eligibility for the Federal Employees Retirement System, DISA will automatically enroll you in this program. This program is the equivalent to the 401K program offered in private industry.
Most new employees are automatically covered by the FERS. FERS is a three-tiered retirement plan. The three tiers are:
- Social Security Benefits
- Basic Benefit Plan
- Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
You pay full Social Security taxes and a small contribution to the Basic Benefit Plan. In addition, your agency will set up a Thrift Savings Plan account for you and will automatically contribute an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay period. These agency automatic (1%) contributions are not taken out of your salary, and your agency makes these contributions whether or not you contribute your own money to the TSP.
You are also able to make tax-deferred contributions to the TSP and a portion is matched by the government. Your agency will invest $1 for every $1 you invest for the first 3 percent of your basic salary, and 50 cents for each $1 you invest for the next 2 percent of your basic salary. The agency contributions are not taken out of your salary; they are an extra benefit to you.
You can start, change, stop, and resume TSP contributions at any time. There is no waiting period. However, there is a mandatory waiting period for agency automatic contributions and agency matching contributions. See the chart under "What are the basic rules for contributing to the TSP?" to determine when you will be eligible.