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 Postal Service? I am thinking of separating from the Postal Service because of my financial situation. If I did, would I have access to all funds in my thrift savings and would there be a penalty for withdrawal before age 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. No, there isn’t a separate retirement through OWCP. You should strongly consider applying for disability retirement through your agency. If you are covered by FERS, you would also have to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.