Some Thrift Savings Plan participants are experiencing major service delays when trying to access their retirement accounts.
The new version of My Account, launched on June 1, requires all participants to set up a new login. As a result, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the agency in charge of the TSP, received an influx of customer service calls over the past several days.
After the board rolled out a mobile app and a new online interface, several readers reached out to Federal News Network to share their firsthand experiences and express frustrations.
“No one has account access. No phones are or emails answered. FRTIB no longer responds,” one participant wrote in an email.
“I have been unsuccessful at logging into my account for the past five days. Using the TSP website and their login instructions I have attempted to set up my new TSP credentials at least seven times,” another participant wrote to Federal News Network. “On two separate days I attempted to contact TSP on their customer service phone number … I was on hold for six hours.”
The board acknowledged the delays, saying a higher volume of participants calling was expected.
“We have seen record-breaking call volumes, leading to increased hold times. We received more than 120,000 phone calls on June 1 – two-point-five times more than our previous high call volume,” FRTIB Director of External Affairs Kim Weaver wrote in an email to Federal News Network.
The board is “urgently working” to address the delays, Weaver said.
“We are very sorry for frustration and delay some participants are experiencing,” Weaver wrote.
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Many TSP participants also posted on a Reddit forum to share their frustrations with the new My Account system.
“For those of you that can’t create your new TSP account name, do not bother trying to call for help. I was on hold for four and a half hours only to be told it is a known issue they are working on and to try again,” one user wrote.
Many users also said that the internet browser that participants use may affect their ability to log in. Currently, the best one to use is Microsoft Edge, according to many Reddit users.
Weaver said the board is aware of the internet browser issues and is working to address them.
In response to the service issues, some said the board shouldn’t have updated the system at all.
“We got rid of a system that worked and replaced it with a new one that doesn’t work as well. And when it does work, it provides a fraction of what the old one offered,” one Reddit user wrote.
But Weaver said the new login is necessary because the board’s highest priority is protecting participants’ retirement savings.
“We designed this process with security and anti-fraud measures in mind,” she wrote.
Weaver said to access the new My Account, participants must complete the required one-time setup process either through an online enrollment process or a one-time passcode sent to them through the mail.
As of June 5, roughly 86% of participants who have attempted to set up their new login have completed online identity verification for immediate access to their online account. Additionally, about 3% of participants have had a one-time passcode mailed to them, Weaver said.
Weaver added that there is help available for participants who are having difficulties. ThriftLine participant services representatives can help users request a one-time mailed passcode or guide them through the online account setup process.
Despite the issues and delays, Weaver said core functionality of the system is working well.
“We are processing payroll contributions and running all daily processes, including loans, withdrawals, fund reallocations, beneficiary designations and mutual fund window enrollments,” Weaver wrote.