Claiming Social Security when one spouse is FERS and the other CSRS


Q. My husband is a retired CSRS annuitant and I’m a retired FERS annuitant. I turn 66 this year, which is my full retirement age for Social Security. I haven’t yet begun to receive SS payments or withdrawn any funds from my TSP, but would like your opinion as to leaving the TSP funds until I need to make Minimum Required Distributions. My feeling is that if I predecease him, he will not receive any of my SS, but will inherit my TSP.
Our accountant thinks I should start drawing down the TSP and invest those funds, since we don’t need the money currently, and to delay taking SS as long as possible. If something does eventually happen to the solvency of SS (they decrease the amount everyone gets or they means test retirees) my theory is it’s better to start taking SS now and invest that money. Any thoughts? 

A. Your question is basically about when you should claim your Social Security benefit. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question and the information you have provided is not nearly sufficient to answer it properly, for you. In general, I recommend that you delay claiming your benefit until you reach age 70 unless there is a good reason to claim it earlier.
As far as your TSP is concerned, you don’t need to withdraw money to be invested elsewhere. You should leave your money in the TSP for as long as you can, and invest it appropriately, there. Either you accountant doesn’t understand the TSP, or he/she has some ulterior motive for making this recommendation.


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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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