The Debt Ceiling and Your Pension

The federal government came closer to reaching its borrowing limit, known as the “debt ceiling,” earlier this month, prompting the Treasury Department to take its usual steps to buy time for lawmakers to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. One of those steps is “borrowing” from the federal Thrift Savings Program (TSP) and the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF).

When the government is unable to pay its bills, it takes “extraordinary measures” including suspending investments to TSP G Fund and the CSRDF as —a step it has found it necessary to take several times in recent years.

While these “disinvestments” concern many employees and retirees they can earn the same interest and withdraw or borrow against their money as usual. And under federal law, the government is required to make these funds whole for all contributions and interest lost during the period of the diversion, and has done so in each previous instance.

For years, NTEU has said federal employees should not have to worry about their retirement nest egg being used for general government expenses. No private sector employer would ever be allowed to do this.

In February 2018, Congress suspended the debt ceiling through March 1, 2019, as part of a bipartisan budget deal.