Users overwhelm TSP Web site

Thrift Savings Plan

During the first 24 hours of the new Thrift Savings Plan online system, many federal employees and retirees met with frustration as they tried to use it to review and make changes to their TSP accounts.

Officials at the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board acknowledged that the Web servers had been flooded with requests and could not accommodate all the would-be users. But they said that although the Web site was overwhelmed, the underlying recordkeeping system was working well.

TSP plan participants may have more success in accessing their accounts by telephone. They can call (504) 255-8777 to make changes in their accounts or get updated balances, said Tom Trabucco, director of external affairs for the board, which administers the retirement system. To access an account, users need to provide their Social Security number and a four-digit personal identification number. The telephone call is not toll-free.

Overnight, the system transferred $1.2 billion between funds and processed 52,311 changes to the way contributions are allocated among funds, Trabucco said. Those account changes were pending at the time of the cutover, he said.

With the new system, changes are processed daily instead of monthly, and self-service via the Web or telephone will be the norm for participants.

FCW.com received more than two dozen complaints from disappointed plan participants who were unable to use the new services that became available at midday June 16. That's when officials turned on the new computer system that had been under development since 1997.

"I have tried five or six times in the past two days to access my account under the new and revised TSP system," said an e-mail from David Price, a senior research physicist at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. "However, in all those tries, I could not access my account even once. Either my request was constantly stalled or the TSP system was down due to excessive traffic. I understand that the new system may have some bugs, but what good is an interactive system that is inaccessible?"

TSP REACTION?

What do you think about the updated TSP services? Are you planning to make changes to your account now that it's faster and easier? Have you tried to use the web services?

Click here to e-mail your comments.

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