Q: I have checked your Q&A and have asked several people about the special retirement supplement (SRS) and can’t seem to get an answer. I’m a 56-year-old Postal Service employee with 22 years of service. Rumor has it there will be another Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (early out). My two questions are, if I go out on VERA, will I be able to take money out of my Thrift Savings Plan account without early withdrawal penalties even though I`m not 59 1/2 years old? I know I will be eligible for SRS. Will the fact that I will be getting SRS, an annuity and TSP payments affect my estimated Social Security benefit at age 62?
A: The special retirement supplement approximates the Social Security benefit you earned while employed under the Federal Employees Retirement System. Your Social Security benefit will be based on all those years of employment during which you were covered by Social Security. The only thing that could alter either benefit is if your earnings from wages or self-employment exceeded the annual Social Security earnings limit.