Separation from Postal Service and TSP access


Q. I am a 48 year old male. I am a letter carrier for USPS. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I will be applying for Social Security disability and disability retirement from USPS. Here’s the thing.  I have had two previous surgeries on my spine, both covered by worker’s compensation. Right now I am using all my sick leave until worker’s compensation receives all of the information it needs. Is there a separate retirement through OWCP or do I need to file for disability through the Post Office. I am thinking of separating from the Postal Service because of my financial situation. If I did separate, would I have access to all funds in my thrift savings and would there be a penalty for withdrawal before 59 1/2?  Also, I have a loan that is almost paid off. Would this have to be paid off first or would they just deduct it from whatever was in the thrift savings?

A. For  my part:
In general your TSP withdrawals, including any unrepaid loan balance following your separation, will be subject to the early withdrawal penalty, unless you can qualify for one of the available exceptions. You’ll find a summary of these exception on page 4 of the notice at this address:

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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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