Q. You have answered a question of mine previously that when I reach MRA (age 56) with 36 years of service I will be able to withdraw TSP without an early withdrawal penalty. That’s fine, but I read a post about an individual who was under the firefighter/ law enforcement retirement criteria and would be subject to early withdrawal penalties up until age 59 ½. I’m a little confused; if I have met MRA but am under 59 ½ how do I not get a penalty and they do, when they have met the criteria for FF/LEO/ATC retirement?
A. Your MRA and years of service have nothing to do with it. If you retire or otherwise separate from service during or after the calendar year in which you reach age 55, you will have access to your TSP without penalty. If you leave federal service before that year, you will have to wait until you are age 59 ½, or qualify for one of the other exceptions, to avoid the early withdrawal penalty.