Unclaimed government retirement funds are not declared abandoned unless
unclaimed by the employee’s 115th birthday or 30 years after death; but
virtually no effort is made to find lost employees owed government
Records on two million former Civil Service workers are not automated,
but rather stored in some 35,000 file cabinets by alphabetical order.
This system does not permit sorting by age, a likely indicator of
unclaimed and unpaid benefits. Because many government employee records
at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Retirement Operations Center
are not computerized, it is virtually impossible for the government to
determine when a federal retirement benefit goes unclaimed and unpaid.
Unclaimed federal retirement benefits include Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
distributions, a defined-contribution plan similar to a 401(K) created
by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 to supplement
Federal Employees Retirement System benefits. As of 2012, TSP accounts
for 4.5 million participants – including federal civilian employees in
all branches of government, U.S. Postal Service employees and members of
the uniformed services – totaled $313 billion.
For assistance with non-government pensions go to:
Unclaimed Pension Search. For
recovery information on unclaimed federal retirement funds and benefits
and a search of the TSP Lost Participant database, complete the form