Q. I have been reading your column and am confused. There have been references to receiving a full lump sum payment of Thrift Savings Plan money upon retirement with 30 years of federal service without the 10 percent penalty. Is this true if I am 51 years old, retirement-eligible with 27 years as a law enforcement officer plus five years regular retirement service?
A. No. The relevant exemption to the early withdrawal penalty has nothing to do with years of service but with age. You must retire during the calendar year in which you reach age 55 for it to apply.