VERA and early withdrawal penalty


Q. I retired as a FERS employee in July 2011 under a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. I was 56½ with 28 years of service. During my years of employment, a Roth TSP option was not available. Therefore, all of my Thrift Savings Plan money is in a non-Roth/traditional account. I would like to use partial withdrawals to move this money into a Roth IRA. I know I must pay taxes but wondered if I must wait until I am 59½ to avoid penalty? I see references that a 10 percent penalty may not apply in the case of VERA and the employee was at least age 55 at retirement.

A. Since you retired during or after the year in which you reached age 55, the early withdrawal penalty will not apply to your TSP account.


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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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