If you contribute to a Roth TSP, and diligently made the changes required by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) in January, you got overpaid yesterday (13 February 2015) because DFAS failed to take those new TSP contributions out of the mid-month pay. Your end-of-month pay will have the entire Roth TSP contribution deducted, and the two paychecks together should come out to the right amount. However, don’t spend this overpayment or you’ll find yourself short at the end-of-month payment!
In an email sent out Thursday night, Bruce N. Keith, Director, ESS Military Pay, states:
“Your Roth TSP elections submitted during January for February 2015 have been received and processed on your pay account. Unfortunately, we experienced a system error and the Roth TSP election that should have been withheld from your February 13 pay was not. The entire Roth TSP election that you made will be deducted from your pay due February 27.
I apologize for this inconvenience. Please be assured that steps have been taken to avoid a repeat of this situation in the future.”
When things work properly, your mid-month pay is determined by taking your estimated total month pay and allowances, deducting your estimated total month deductions and allotments, and dividing the remainder in half. Obviously, this is all happening by computers because it would take thousands of people to do all those calculations manually each month. It appears that the change to the software didn’t work properly, and the calculation did not include the Roth TSP contribution for the month. Therefore, your mid-month pay is higher than it should be, by half the amount of your monthly Roth TSP contribution (as set up in January.) As a result, your end-of-month pay is going to be lower than it should be, by the same amount.
It’s not a huge deal, now that we know where that money has come from, and know to keep it aside. Resist the urge to spend it!
From a broader perspective, it’s always a good idea to set aside any extra money that shows up in your paycheck until you can verify where it came from and its purpose. I knew that my husband’s pay was super-high this check, and I’ve just been staring at it. I figured that either some explanation like this would come out, or it would be explained when the Leave and Earnings Statement came out at the end of the month. I was really tempted to throw it into our new-car account, but I knew that wouldn’t be right.
*Note: Marines were not required to change their Roth TSP election in January, and should not have been impacted by this error.*