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Can I get access to my TSP money while I’m still working?
Yes, through a loan or an in-service withdrawal. Money drawn out as a loan must be repaid into the TSP account, but money taken out as an in-service withdrawal may not be repaid. Thus, an in-service withdrawal permanently depletes the account while a loan does not.

There are two types of loans. General purpose loans are available for a repayment period of one to five years. Loans for the purchase of a primary residence are available for a repayment period of one to 15 years. Participants may have no more than one loan of each type at any one time. Loans are repaid according to a schedule set at the time of the loan but can be paid off in full at any time.

There is a $50 processing fee for taking out a loan, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. You do not have to be investing your own money at the time, but generally you do have to be in paid status (that is, not on extended leave without pay).

There also are two types of in-service withdrawals: financial hardship withdrawals and an age-based withdrawal, which is available only if you are over age 59 1⁄2. An age-based withdrawal is a one-time opportunity, while there is no limit on the number of hardship withdrawals, if you qualify for them.

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