Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Legislation Enacted in the 111th Congress

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On June 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 1256, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-31). Title I of Division B of H.R. 1256 is the “Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2009”. Among other provisions, P.L. 111-31: • provides for newly hired federal employees to be enrolled automatically in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) at a default contribution rate of 3% of pay; • requires the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to establish within the TSP a qualified Roth contribution program that provides for after-tax contributions and tax-free distributions; • gives the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board authority to include mutual fund investment options in the TSP; • requires the Thrift Board to submit to Congress an annual report that includes demographic information about TSP participants and fund managers; • allows the surviving spouse of a deceased TSP participant to leave the decedent’s TSP account balance on deposit with the Thrift Savings Plan, and; • increases the monthly indemnity allowance for surviving spouses of deceased members of the armed forces who are affected by certain benefit offsets. On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (P.L. 111-84). Title XI and Title XIX of P.L. 111-84 contain provisions that affect the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS). P.L. 111-84: • allows federal agencies to appoint individuals receiving annuities under CSRS or FERS to temporary, part-time positions within the federal government without reducing the individual’s salary by the amount of the annuity, as is usually required under title 5 of the United States Code. • requires the computation of an annuity under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System to include an employee’s unused sick leave in his or her length of service; • allows certain redeposits to the Civil Service Retirement System for periods of service between October 1990 and February 1991 to exclude interest payments; • requires CSRS annuities for employees whose careers include part-time service to be computed under the same rules that apply to part-time annuities under FERS; • allows former employees who withdrew contributions to the FERS at the time of separation from federal service to redeposit those contributions, plus interest, to the FERS in the event that they are re-employed by the federal government; and • allows certain service performed as an employee of the District of Columbia to be credited as federal service for purposes of determining retirement benefits.

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Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2009; Congress; legislation; public policy; retirement; pension; federal employees


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