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TSP gets active in collecting owed child support

Jul. 23, 2012 - 05:08PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments

The Thrift Savings Plan today said it is increasing its cooperation with a Health and Human Services Department office to garnish TSP savings of employees who are behind in their child support payments.

TSP has always been able to garnish funds to pay for child support, but until 2010 almost never used that power. In August 2010, TSP signed a memorandum of understanding with HHS’ Office of Child Support Enforcement to share data and help them collect unpaid child support.

TSP has processed an average 1,138 child support court orders per month so far this year, according to Tom Emswiler, general counsel for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which manages the plan. That is up from a monthly average of less than 500 in 2011, four in 2010, and “basically zero” in previous years.

At the board’s monthly meeting Monday, Emswiler said 35,000 TSP participants are behind on their child support payments. In all, he said, 78,544 federal employees who have TSP accounts owe child support, though not all are behind on their payments.

Another roughly 7,500 federal employees owe child support, but do not have TSP accounts.

TSP was required by law to help HHS collect the money, and HHS covered the roughly $50,000 in costs needed to set up the matching program.

Also, a strong performance in June by the TSP’s three stock funds helped bring the overall fund balance up to record $313 billion. The fund balance dropped 2 percent in May to $305 billion.

The I Fund’s international stocks increased 7 percent, and the C and S funds’ domestic stocks increased 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

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