IRS increases amount TSP participants can contribute in 2019

To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe on PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts. The best listening experience on desktop can be found using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

  • Participants in the Thrift Savings Plan can contribute up to $19,000 a year toward their retirement accounts in 2019. The IRS set the annual contribution limit for 401(k)-style retirement plans and the TSP for the following year. Cost of living adjustments helped raise the limit from $18,500 this year to $19,000 starting next year. The limit on annual contributions to an IRA will go up from $5,500 to $6,000 in 2019. (IRS)
  • TRICARE beneficiaries are preparing for their first healthcare open season starting next Monday. Participants will have a choice between TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select. Officials with BeneFeds will have 1,400 representatives in 11 locations answering questions about insurance during open season and insurance options. (Federal News Network)
  • Veterans Affairs signs a joint statement with at least five other federal agencies to add more free legal services for veterans. VA met with the Labor, Justice, Homeland Security, Defense and Navy departments to re-affirm their commitment to helping veterans with pro-bono legal clinics. VA said today it hosts 170 free legal clinics at the agency’s medical centers and veteran centers across the country. Attorneys from VA and 13 other federal agencies have given free legal advice to veterans in the past. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • A Coast Guard whistleblower’s case was already under investigation by the Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, to see if the service’s officials retaliated against them for taking discrimination claims to Congress. Now the Coast Guard Investigative Service have issued a search warrant against the same whistleblower. Acting IG John Kelly told top brass that he has profound concerns that the search warrant is fresh retaliation. (Federal News Network)
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan will sign a memo to move the National Background Investigation Services technology from the Defense Information Systems Agency to the Defense Security Service. DISA said it’s unclear when Shanahan will sign the memo, but the plan is to have the transition completed, at least on paper, by Oct. 1. The change would be among the steps the administration is expected to take over the next few months to bring the entire security clearance process to DSS.
  • A new audit finds weaknesses in the military’s procedures for safeguarding highly-destructive munitions. The Government Accountability Office said the Army, Navy and Marine Corps have tended to put off required security inspections at the facilities that house ready-to-fire rockets and missiles. More than 40 percent of the reviews were late – in some cases, by more than a year. GAO also found the military services aren’t consistently applying DoD security standards to those facilities, and aren’t always documenting the problems they find. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Air Force announced its third Hack the Air Force challenge, which lets computer experts uncover vulnerabilities in its websites. The four-week-long program ends Nov. 22 and the service is offering tens of thousands of dollars for finding critical vulnerabilities. (Air Force)
  • Mobile devices, the Internet of Things and a host of other sensors are forcing DoD to rethink its cybersecurity strategy. The Defense Department is finalizing a new end point cybersecurity strategy. The document will take lessons learned over the last year from the military services’ pilots of different end-point detection, response and containment tools. It’s also based on the results from the DoD cyber architecture review effort and a new analysis of the end point threats the military faces. The strategy aims to converge the security of traditional end points, such as laptops, with new ones like mobile devices and critical infrastructure systems.
  • The Census Bureau wants to correct the record on misconceptions about the upcoming 2020 population count. The agency released its Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Study, based on more than 17,000 responses. Nearly a quarter of survey respondents were concerned Census would share their data with other agencies, even though the bureau doesn’t do that. Nearly 30 percent worried about confidentiality of their data. On that count, acting Census Director Ron Jarmin said the agency is doing everything it can to ensure the cybersecurity of the 2020 count. (Federal News Network)
  • The biggest landowner in the U.S. is the federal government, so the Government Accountability Office wanted to find out how agencies manage their property holdings. It highlighted six key characteristics of effective asset management, including maintaining quality data on real property and leadership support, also maximizing the value of each asset. (Government Accountability Office)