Author Mike Miles

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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com and view his blog at money.federaltimes.com.

Q. I am vested with TSP should I separate from the Department of Veterans Affairs. If I get fired due to unapproval of a previously approved accommodation, will it affect my eligibility for my full TSP funds in the future? A. No. Your vested TSP funds are yours to keep.

Q. I was offered VERA at office. I would like to accept, but have a TSP loan balance for a home loan that won’t get paid by the 90-day deadline. My retirement is set for July 2020. When I separate and still have outstanding balance, how will I get taxed and at what percentage rate? I was not due to retire until May 2027. Also, will it affect annuity payments, and how long do I have to pay the loan back? A. Any unpaid balance will be declared a taxable distribution and added to your tax return for that year as ordinary income. The tax…

Q. I’m a CSRS person. Will my survivor annuity increase as my CSRS pension increases due to COLA? Will this occur if I select less than a full survivor annuity? A. Any survivor benefit you elect will increase for inflation at the same rate as your benefit.

Q. Which would be more advantageous to reduce my annual federal tax bill: contribute more into TSP or withhold more and have more from my salary go toward federal taxes? Am I correct that contributing more into TSP would go toward retirement savings, reduce my taxable income and lower my federal tax bill? A. It’s impossible to say which will be “best.” One is prepaying your federal taxes, and the other is deferring income tax from the current year into a future year. If you can do both, do both. If you can only do one or other, then pay…

Q. I will turn 60 next year and plan to retire with 30 years of service. I am invested in the L2020 Fund. Upon retiring, can I stay there or do I need to move my money? A. You may keep your TSP account, and manage it as you like, for life.

Q. I know TSP funds can be rolled into an IRA, and IRA funds rolled into TSP. Is there any limit on how many times money can be moved back and forth? A. There is no limit that I am aware of.

Q. I will be 62 next year and am a CSRS Offset employee. I would like to know if I can apply at that time for Social Security benefits and retire afterwards (within a few months), and whether a salary is reduced as it is with the pension.  A. You may apply for Social Security benefits while you are still working. Your earned income will not be reduced by the offset provision of your retirement system.

Q. It is my understanding that once you have accumulated 30 years of substantial Social Security contributions your Social Security payments will not be reduced by your GPO. Is this true? A. This is not true. The GPO does not apply to your own Social Security benefit. It applies only to a Social Security survivor benefit, and it is not affected by your years of Substantial Earnings under Social Security. If your Social Security benefit is subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, the effect of the WEP is affected by the number of years of Substantial Earnings you…

Q. I am currently CSRS Offset. As such, I pay Social Security and the CSRS 7 percent pension contribution. Do my CSRS Offset payments to Social Security count toward the 30 years required to avoid the windfall elimination provision? A. Any earnings that are subject to Social Security tax count toward satisfying the Substantial Earnings calculation for the WEP.

Q. I retired under FERS and receive the supplement. Will the sale of a second home be considered wages, thus reducing my supplement or completely eliminating it?   A. Proceeds from the sale of a home are not considered wages for any purpose that I am aware of.

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