Converting TSP to annuity

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Q. I am a U.S. Capitol Police officer. I plan to retire in 2014 at age 55, although I can stay until 57. If I convert my TSP funds to an annuity, will I be able to draw on it right away? If not, when? Will I be penalized prior to age 62?

A. If you retire during or after the calendar year in which you reach age 55, you will be exempt from the early withdrawal penalty for all of your TSP assets as you withdraw them and may take them within the usual TSP limits, including using some or all of the money to buy an immediate annuity.

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