Information on Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Elective Deferral Limits and Catch-up or “Spillover” Contributions for Military Members

DFAS is applying a sequence of system changes impacting the way annual TSP contribution elective deferral limits are handled for those younger than 50 and the way catch-up or “spillover” contributions are handled for those who are turning 50 or older this year.
What is the elective deferral limit?
The elective deferral limit is the maximum amount members can contribute from their pay to their TSP account. It applies to both traditional and Roth TSP accounts.
  • 2022 elective deferral limit
    • The elective deferral limit for individuals under the age of 50 can contribute up to $20,500 per year into the TSP.
What is the catch-up or “spillover” contribution?
For those turning 50 or older, once you exceed the elective deferral limit, your contributions will “spillover” and automatically start counting toward the catch-up limit.
  • 2022 spillover contribution limits
    • Those aged 50 and above can make catch-up or “spillover” contributions of an additional $6,500, for a total of $27,000 per year ($20,500 + $6,500). 
For those younger than 50: If a military member is under the age of 50 and their TSP contributions exceed the elective deferral limit, DFAS will make the necessary correction/adjustment to the member’s TSP record and refund the overage back to the member’s pay.
  • DFAS will automatically issue refunds to members younger than 50, who have made contributions in excess of the elective deferral limit.
    • The EDL is $20,500 during 2022.
  • DFAS will issue the refunds in the month following the first month excess contributions were made.  For example, members who first exceeded the elective deferral limit in the December pay period will be automatically refunded the excess contribution by January month-end pay.
  • System changes are scheduled to be implemented in 2022. These changes will systematically prevent military member from contributing more than the elective deferral limit each year.
For those 50 or older: Prior to January 2021, service members turning age 50 or older had to elect if they wanted to contribute to catch-up contributions. That is no longer the case. System adjustments were made in direct response to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board’s (FRTIB) change to the new “spillover” method for catch-up contributions, which began with the first pay period of 2021. This spillover method streamlines the catch-up contribution process for those either turning age 50 this year or are older than 50 by eliminating the requirement to make an affirmative catch up election each year. Instead, contributions will continue until catch-up eligible participants reach the combined elective deferral and catch-up or “spillover” limits for the year.  
  • Service members turning 50 or older who do not wish to contribute toward the catch-up limit should adjust their contributions accordingly by visiting their myPay account.
  • For more information on spillover contributions visit:
If you have questions about excess contribution, you can call the DFAS Customer Care Center at 1 -888-332-7411 or you can visit your local finance office.

For more information, please visit the following webpages:

Active Duty Military Member:
Reserve/Guard Military Member:
Or visit the TSP website:


Page updated March 29, 2022