One of the things that married TSP participants have to do is get your spouse’s approval for a TSP withdrawal. The Thrift Savings Plan won’t allow you sneak in a Form TSP-70 or 77 or other such withdrawal application forms without getting your spouse to sign off on it.
Generally speaking, anytime Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) or uniformed services participants want to apply for a loan or withdrawal, your spouse must provide consent in writing. For Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Participants, the TSP requires that the spouse be notified.
There are certain exceptions allowed to this requirement, under both FERS and CSRS. Needless to say, there’s a form for that too – Form TSP-16 (Exception to Spousal Requirements) or TSP-U-16 for uniformed services.
Form TSP-16 When Your Spouse Can’t Sign Off on a TSP Withdrawal
For FERS and uniformed services, there are two clauses you can cite – one is that the whereabouts of your spouse are unknown to you. The second one is “exceptional circumstances” that prevent you from obtaining your spouse’s signature for the TSP withdrawal.
The Form TSP-16 which you need to submit states that “I do not know where my spouse is. I have made a good faith effort to locate my spouse in the 90 days before I submitted this request and have been unable to do so through any person or other source. The required statements or police, agency, or judicial determinations are attached to this form.”
This clause, subject to verification, may be used by both FERS and CSRS participants to get an exception to the spousal requirements.
The exceptional circumstances clause in Form TSP-16 is allowed only for FERS participants. It states that “exceptional circumstances make it inappropriate for me to obtain my spouse’s signature. A copy of an order or determination of a court or other governmental body that recites the exceptional circumstances is attached.”