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Historical information on contribution limits

The TSP provides agency and service representatives with historical information on contribution rules, limits, and eligibility determination. This page also provides agency representatives with sample language notifications they may use to inform newly hired or rehired FERS and CSRS employees of the benefits of participation in the TSP.

  • Elective deferral, section 415(c), and catch-up contribution limits
    1987 – Present
    Tax year Elective deferral Section 415(c) Catch-up contributions
    2020 $19,500 $57,000 $6,500
    2019 $19,000 $56,000 $6,000
    2018 $18,500 $55,000 $6,000
    2017 $18,000 $54,000 $6,000
    2016 $18,000 $53,000 $6,000
    2015 $18,000 $53,000 $6,000
    2014 $17,500 $52,000 $5,500
    2013 $17,500 $51,000 $5,500
    2012 $17,000 $50,000 $5,500
    2011 $16,500 $49,000 $5,500
    2010 $16,500 $49,000 $5,500
    2009 $16,500 $49,000 $5,500
    2008 $15,500 $46,000 $5,000
    2007 $15,500 $45,000 $5,000
    2006 $15,000 $44,000 $5,000
    2005 $14,000 $42,000 $4,000
    2004 $13,000 $41,000 $3,000
    2003 $12,000 $40,000 $2,000
    2002 $11,000 $40,000 N/A
    2001 $10,500 N/A N/A
    2000 $10,500 N/A N/A
    1999 $10,000 N/A N/A
    1998 $10,000 N/A N/A
    1997 $9,500 N/A N/A
    1996 $9,500 N/A N/A
    1995 $9,240 N/A N/A
    1994 $9,240 N/A N/A
    1993 $8,994 N/A N/A
    1992 $8,728 N/A N/A
    1991 $8,475 N/A N/A
    1990 $7,979 N/A N/A
    1989 $7,627 N/A N/A
    1988 $7,313 N/A N/A
    1987 $7,000 N/A N/A
  • Eligibility dates for TSP employee and Agency contributions
    FERS employment begins: Eligible to make employee contributions begins the first full pay period in: Eligible for Agency contributions begins the first full pay period in:
    On or before January 1, 1987 April 1987
    January 2, 1987 –
    June 30, 1987
    January 1988
    July 1, 1987 –
    December 31, 1987
    July 1988
    January 1, 1988 –
    June 30, 1988
    January 1989
    July 1, 1988 –
    December 31, 1988
    July 1989
    January 1, 1989 –
    June 30, 1989
    January 1990
    July 1, 1989 –
    December 31, 1989
    July 1990
    January 1, 1990 –
    June 30, 1990
    January 1991
    July 1, 1990 –
    December 31, 1990
    July 1991
    January 1, 1991 –
    June 30, 1991
    January 1992
    July 1, 1991 –
    December 31, 1991
    July 1992
    January 1, 1992 –
    June 30, 1992
    January 1993
    July 1, 1992 –
    December 31, 1992
    July 1993
    January 1, 1993 –
    June 30, 1993
    January 1994
    July 1, 1993 –
    December 31, 1993
    July 1994
    January 1, 1994 –
    June 30, 1994
    January 1995
    July 1, 1994 –
    December 31, 1994
    July 1995
    January 1, 1995 –
    June 30, 1995
    January 1996
    July 1, 1995 –
    December 31, 1995
    July 1996
    January 1, 1996 –
    June 30, 1996
    January 1997
    July 1, 1996 –
    December 31, 1996
    July 1997
    January 1, 1997 –
    June 30, 1997
    January 1998
    July 1, 1997 –
    December 31, 1997
    July 1998
    January 1, 1998 –
    June 30, 1998
    January 1999
    July 1, 1998 –
    December 31, 1998
    July 1999
    January 1, 1999 –
    June 30, 1999
    January 2000
    July 1, 1999 –
    December 31, 1999
    July 2000
    January 1, 2000 –
    June 30, 2000
    January 2001
    July 1, 2000 –
    December 31, 2000
    July 2001
    January 1, 2001 –
    June 30, 2001
    July 2001 January 2002
    July 1, 2001 –
    December 31, 2001
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire July 2002
    January 1, 2002 –
    June 30, 2002
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire December 2002
    July 1, 2002 –
    November 30, 2002
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire June 2003
    December 1, 2002 –
    May 31, 2003
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire December 2003
    June 1, 2003 –
    November 30, 2003
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire June 2004
    December 1, 2003 –
    May 31, 2004
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire December 2004
    June 1, 2004 –
    November 30, 2004
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire June 2005
    December 1, 2004 –
    May 31, 2005
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire December 2005
    June 1, 2005 –
    June 30, 2005
    Election can be made 60 days from date of hire June 2006
    July 1, 2005 –
    November 30, 2005
    Eligible at any time June 2006
    December 1, 2005 –
    May 31, 2006
    Eligible at any time December 2006
    June 1, 2006 –
    November 30, 2006
    Eligible at any time June 2007
    December 1, 2006 –
    May 31, 2007
    Eligible at any time December 2007
    June 1, 2007 –
    November 30, 2007
    Eligible at any time June 2008
    December 1, 2007 –
    May 31, 2008
    Eligible at any time December 2008
    June 1, 2008 –
    November 30, 2008
    Eligible at any time June 2009
    December 1, 2008 –
    June 22, 2009
    Eligible at any time Effective June 22, 2009, eligible immediately but no later than the first full pay period in August 20091, 2
    On or after June 22, 2009 Eligible at any time Eligible immediately1, 2
    On or after August 1, 2010 Employee is automatically enrolled3 Eligible immediately
    1. As a result of the Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2009 that was signed into law on June 22, 2009, FERS employees who are newly hired or rehired on or after June 22, 2009, and FERS employees who are currently employed and waiting until the second election period to become eligible for agency contributions (i.e., employees hired on or after December 1, 2008) are immediately eligible to receive Agency contributions.
    2. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) Executive Director has given employing agencies until the first full pay period in August 2009 to implement this regulation pursuant to his authority to prescribe such regulations as may be necessary for the administration of the Thrift Savings Plan, (5 U.S.C. 8474(b)(5)), to include section 8432 (id.) and as may be necessary to carry out his responsibilities as Executive Director (5 U.S.C. 8474(b)(5)).
    3. As a result of the Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2009, newly hired and rehired FERS and CSRS employees are immediately enrolled to automatically contribute 3% of basic pay. The employee has the option to opt out of employee contributions, stop contributing, or change the amount of his or her contributions.
  • TSP Open Seasons, eligibility to elect to contribute
    Enrollment period Election period
    Starting in 1987...
    February 15 – March 31;
    April 1 – 30
    After April 1987...
    May 15 – June 30;
    November 15 – December 31
    July 1 – 31;
    January 1 – 31
    After July 2002...
    October 15 – November 30;
    April 15 – May 31
    December 1 – 31;
    June 1 – 30
    Starting in July 2005...
    Open Seasons eliminated

    Eligibility rules:

    1. Employees hired on or before January 1, 1987 were eligible to participate in the February to April open season.
    2. Second open season rule governs both employer and agency contributions for all employees hired after January 1, 1987 through December 31, 2000
    3. Employees appointed during the period January 1 through June 30, 2001 could elect to contribute during the May 15 through July 31, 2001 open season.
    4. Employees appointed on or after July 1, 2001, had a 60-day window to elect to contribute. After the window closed, they reverted to the normal open season rules.

    References:

    • TSP Bulletin 01-4, Participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (02/02/01)
    • TSP Bulletin 05-2, Participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (01/26/05)
    • TSP Bulletin 10-7, Participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (07/22/10)