Retirement timing for maximum benefit


Q. My start date with the U.S. Postal Service was December 1986. This is my 30th year. I am now 58 years old. I also worked prior to USPS and have more than 40 quarters in with Social Security. I am under the FERS system and understand that my contribution to TSP will factor into my annuity. I know nothing about USPS retirement and have heard words like “windfall elimination offset” and that I cannot get Social Security that was earned before the USPS. How can I find out when is the best time I should retire for maximum benefit and what would my actual payment be? Can you advise me or give me a name of a USPS retirement counselor that could give me answers based on my actual information?

A. Your TSP contributions will not be a factor in determining your FERS annuity and the Windfall Elimination Provision will not apply to you unless you will receive a pension based on service that was not subject to Social Security taxation. You submit your request for counseling, information and benefit estimates to your agency’s human resources office.


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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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