Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Annuity

A Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) annuity is a life annuity contract purchased using funds from a TSP account. The TSP offers single life annuity and joint life annuity options through MetLife, its sole annuity provider.

Thomas Brock, CFA, CPA, expert contributor to Annuity.org
  • Written By
    Thomas J. Brock, CFA®, CPA

    Thomas J. Brock, CFA®, CPA

    Expert Contributor

    Thomas Brock, CFA®, CPA, is a financial professional with over 20 years of experience in investments, corporate finance and accounting. He currently oversees the investment operation for a $4 billion super-regional insurance carrier.

    Read More
  • Edited By
    Emily Miller
    Emily Miller, Managing Editor for Annuity.org

    Emily Miller

    Managing Editor

    Managing editor Emily Miller is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience as a researcher, writer and editor. Throughout her professional career, Emily has covered education, government, health care, crime and breaking news for media organizations in Florida, Washington, D.C. and Texas. She joined the Annuity.org team in 2016.

    Read More
  • Financially Reviewed By
    Rubina K. Hossain, CFP®
    Rubina K. Hossain

    Rubina K. Hossain, CFP®

    Certified Financial Planner™ Professional

    Certified Financial Planner Rubina K. Hossain is chair of the CFP Board's Council of Examinations and past president of the Financial Planning Association. She specializes in preparing and presenting sound holistic financial plans to ensure her clients achieve their goals.

    Read More
  • Updated: January 17, 2023
  • 6 min read time
  • This page features 3 Cited Research Articles
Fact Checked
Fact Checked

Annuity.org partners with outside experts to ensure we are providing accurate financial content.

These reviewers are industry leaders and professional writers who regularly contribute to reputable publications such as the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Our expert reviewers review our articles and recommend changes to ensure we are upholding our high standards for accuracy and professionalism.

Our expert reviewers hold advanced degrees and certifications and have years of experience with personal finances, retirement planning and investments.

Cite Us
How to Cite Annuity.org's Article

APA Brock, T. J. (2023, January 17). Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Annuity. Annuity.org. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.annuity.org/annuities/types/tsp-annuity/

MLA Brock, Thomas J. "Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Annuity." Annuity.org, 17 Jan 2023, https://www.annuity.org/annuities/types/tsp-annuity/.

Chicago Brock, Thomas J. "Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Annuity." Annuity.org. Last modified January 17, 2023. https://www.annuity.org/annuities/types/tsp-annuity/.

Why Trust Annuity.org
Why You Can Trust Annuity.org
Annuity.org has provided reliable, accurate financial information to consumers since 2013. We adhere to ethical journalism practices, including presenting honest, unbiased information that follows Associated Press style guidelines and reporting facts from reliable, attributed sources. Our objective is to deliver the most comprehensive explanation of annuities and financial literacy topics using plain, straightforward language.

Our Partnerships, Vision and Goals

We pride ourselves on partnering with professionals like those from Senior Market Sales (SMS) — a market leader with over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry — who offer personalized retirement solutions for consumers across the country. Our relationships with partners including SMS and Insuractive, the company’s consumer-facing branch, allow us to facilitate the sale of annuities and other retirement-oriented financial products to consumers who are looking to purchase safe and reliable solutions to fill gaps in their retirement income. We are compensated when we produce legitimate inquiries, and that compensation helps make Annuity.org an even stronger resource for our audience. We may also, at times, sell lead data to partners in our network in order to best connect consumers to the information they request. Readers are in no way obligated to use our partners’ services to access the free resources on Annuity.org.

Annuity.org carefully selects partners who share a common goal of educating consumers and helping them select the most appropriate product for their unique financial and lifestyle goals. Our network of advisors will never recommend products that are not right for the consumer, nor will Annuity.org. Additionally, Annuity.org operates independently of its partners and has complete editorial control over the information we publish.

Our vision is to provide users with the highest quality information possible about their financial options and empower them to make informed decisions based on their unique needs.

What Is a TSP Annuity?

A TSP annuity is a life annuity contract purchased using funds from your TSP account.

The standard transaction transfers your money to MetLife, the sole annuity provider for the TSP, in exchange for a guaranteed stream of monthly payments for the rest of your life. One of the common types of annuities, this standard transaction is known as a single life annuity.

A joint life annuity is also available. This option guarantees a monthly payment to you and a spouse (or someone you designate other than a spouse) for the rest of your lives. Since a joint life payment stream covers two people and is likely to last longer than a single life stream, the amount of the payment is typically lower.

What Is a Fixed Annuity?

What Happens to the Annuity When You Die?

With a TSP annuity, if you die with money left in your annuity, MetLife will keep the remaining funds.

However, in qualifying circumstances, there are two optional features that provide some value to beneficiaries: a cash refund feature and a 10-year certain feature. If you choose either of these options, the monthly annuity payments you receive will automatically be reduced.

With the cash refund feature, unused annuity funds are paid to your beneficiaries when you die. You can add this feature to a single life annuity or a joint life annuity.

With the 10-year certain feature, if you die before you have received annuity payments for a 10-year period, payments will continue to your beneficiaries for the remainder of the 10-year period. You can add this feature to a single life annuity, but it cannot be used with a joint life annuity.

Factors Affecting a TSP Annuity Payment

Beyond the choice of a single life annuity or a joint life arrangement, along with the optional choice of beneficiary features discussed above, various factors can impact the amount of your TSP annuity payment.

Factors that impact the amount of your TSP annuity payment include the following:
  • Your age when the annuity is purchased
  • The age of the joint annuitant (or co-owner of the annuity), if you choose a joint annuity
  • The amount of money used to purchase the annuity
  • The interest rate offered when you purchase the annuity*
  • Your selection of level payments or increasing payments; selecting increasing payments will reduce your initial payment amount but provide some protection against inflation

* The interest rate for annuities purchased  through the TSP in September 2022, for example, was 3.325%. Since 2002, the highest monthly rate was 5.750% (in August 2006), and the lowest was 1.209% (in July 2020).

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making financial decisions.
Last Modified: January 17, 2023

3 Cited Research Articles

Annuity.org writers adhere to strict sourcing guidelines and use only credible sources of information, including authoritative financial publications, academic organizations, peer-reviewed journals, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts. You can read more about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and transparency in our editorial guidelines.

  1. Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from https://www.frtib.gov/
  2. Thrift Savings Plan. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from https://www.tsp.gov/about-us/
  3. Thrift Savings Plan. (2022, September). Historical Annuity Rates. Retrieved from https://www.tsp.gov/living-in-retirement/historical-annuity-rates/