Social Security and TSP rollover


Q. I am a Civil Service Retirement System employee, hired in 1979 and contemplating retiring April 3, 2013.

1. I will be subject to the windfall elimination provision because I earned 40 credits of Social Security eligibility prior to my federal employment. But my spouse is also eligible for Social Security and started receiving Social Security benefits of more than $1,900 a month (gross) starting last month (January 2012), whereas the Social Security Administration has estimated that my Social Security benefits would be approximately $385 a month (gross). Would I be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits?

2. A financial planner has recommended that I roll over my substantial Thrift Savings Plan account balance prior to age 70½ (October 2017), but I do not consider this wise because the administrative costs of TSP are so low compared to other options (and I’m doing fine in the TSP). Do you see any advantages to an early rollover from TSP?

3. This same financial planner advised that I must take the entirety of my TSP account balance out by age 70½, either as a taxable distribution or as a rollover (or combination). Can I not maintain my TSP account after age 70½, and simply start taking periodic distributions?

A. Your financial planner is either a fraud or a fool. Find another financial planner — one who knows what he/she is talking about! Leave your TSP intact as long as possible. You can request automatic minimum distributions from the TSP. Visit


About Author

Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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