Q. OPM approved my disability retirement case in 2015 (after 31 years of service with the federal government), and I “officially” retired on disability at age 54 of that year. I was denied Social Security disability benefits. I am now receiving the 40 percent disability retirement annuity and am having a difficult time making financial ends meet each month. Therefore, I am looking at the possibility of withdrawing fixed monthly payments from my TSP account to provide additional income until I turn 62, when my disability retirement annuity is converted to a regular retirement annuity. I currently have $323,000 in…
Q. I am a retired federal employee and want to start taking my TSP annuity. I can choose from either a TSP annuity or one through MetLife. Which do most retirees choose? Should I split the amount in my account equally between a TSP annuity and a MetLife annuity? Do most retirees do that, or do they just choose the TSP annuity? What are the benefits and risks of either option?
Q. I’m going to retire in six months, and I qualify for the special supplement. I understand that that supplement is subject to the Social Security earnings test but that my FERS retirement annuity is not counted toward that test. Is my thrift savings annuity and/or withdrawal subject to the Social Security earnings test? In other words, will my special supplement be lowered if my thrift savings annuity/payments go over the maximum allowed earned income (about $16,000)?
Q. I am 53 years old and reached 30 years of government service earlier this month. I work for the Environmental Protection Agency and am preparing for the possibility of being offered VERA/VSIP. I am trying to determine if it is possible to make a partial withdrawal from my TSP under VERA. My thinking is that a partial withdrawal would enable me to, at a minimum, have funding to bridge me to the start of receiving the FERS supplement at my minimum retirement age of 56. The only thing that I’ve been able to find is that I have the option…
Q. Under FERS, is the amount deducted from the FERS annuity (5 percent or 10 percent) taxable income or is it non-taxable income? I am retired military and the contribution toward the Survivor Benefit Plan is non-taxable, so I am wondering if FERS follows suit.
Q. If I elect a set monthly withdrawal instead of an annuity, what happens if I should pass away before I have taken all of my TSP? Do I have to take the annuity option for my spouse to receive any survivor benefit or the remaining balance?
Q. I plan on retiring next August at 57 years old. I would like to buy an immediate annuity but do not want to buy the MetLife FERS annuity. Their interest rates for the annuity are extremely low compared to other annuities. When I retire at 57 years old, can I buy another annuity and avoid paying 20 percent upfront tax when buying that annuity? Also, can I get my payments without the 10 percent penalty for not being 59½?
Q. I’m a few years out from retirement but want to plan carefully for that day. A lot is written about earning money from outside sources (e.g., non-federal employment or self-employment) and how it affects Social Security benefits. What I want to know is if I retired today under the $15,480-allowed outside-income criteria, would my FERS annuity and any TSP income (either annuity or withdrawal) be included in that $15,480-income ceiling, or are they treated separately thereby allowing me to receive my full Social Security benefit, FERS annuity, TSP income and outside income together without reductions?
Q. I visited my Roth IRA ($20,000-plus) adviser for a one-year review a few days ago. She informed me it would be better to invest my $150,000-plus with Edward Jones instead of the mandatory MetLife annuity required by TSP. Do I earn interest on my annuity and can I raise my yearly payment, or even pick the dollar amount? Does MetLife provide this information so I can make a educated decision? What do you suggest?