Q. In IRS Publication 575 on page 33, they list an exception from the 10 percent penalty on withdrawing from the Thrift Savings Plan fund for qualified public safety employees. As a federal agent, if I retire in the year in which I turn 50, am I exempt from the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty based on the qualified public safety employee clause? IRS Publication 721, pages 17-18 lists a law enforcement officer as a qualified public safety employee. If this is the case, why do they not mention this when doing pre-retirement seminars?
A. The exception only applies to defined benefit pension plans, not to defined contributions retirement plans such as TSP.