The first time that Veterans Affairs Department psychologist Kristy Ditzler heard that the Thrift Savings Plan had switched to a new recordkeeping service and that she needed to set up a new TSP.gov account was in September, when she received a letter informing her that someone had already done it on her behalf.
“On September 7, I got a piece of paper mail from the TSP and I opened it on the morning of the 8th, and it said, ‘Your account has been claimed and your contact info was changed, and if you did not take that action then call us,’” Ditzler said. “So I called at 7:30 that morning and found out that in fact, on August 21, somebody took over my account, changed the user name and password, and then took a hardship withdrawal for $98,543.”
In June, the TSP moved to the new recordkeeper vendor Accenture Federal Services, touting better security and functionality for users. But since then, participants have reported a cavalcade of problems, from difficulty proving their identity to set up new accounts and having to resubmit beneficiary designations to the loss of historical account data. Many of the issues were exacerbated by Accenture’s vast underestimate of the volume of calls seeking assistance at the TSP’s customer service hotline, and subsequent call center understaffing.