Q. I am a 48-year-old FERS employee with 25 years of civil service. Our organization has offered a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. If my organization approves my VERA, when would I be eligible to receive an annuity? Immediately or at age 56? What are the near- and long-term pros and cons of accepting VERA?

A. Because you have at least 25 years of service, you would be eligible for an immediate annuity. When you reached your minimum retirement age, you would be entitled to the special retirement supplement. However, if you had earnings from wages or self-employment at the time that exceeded the annual Social Security earnings limit, your SRS would be reduced or suspended. As for any other near- and long-term pros and cons, you’ll have to figure those out for yourself.


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  1. I just turned 50 in Jan and accepted the VERA with 26 years of postal service. The problem with retiring younger than 59-1/2 is the IRS 10% (off the top) tax penalty if you receive “too much” in earnings. You will need a good financial adviser who understands this. You also will need to either keep your money in the TSP and withdraw it at 59-1/2 or roll 100% over into an IRA and receive monthly payments that follow the IRS 72t format. Following the 72t format is essential to avoid the tax penalty. If you take another job you can also roll 100% of your TSP into your new employers 401K with no penalty. Finding a reliable financial adviser is the place to start. Discuss your plans with them before you decide. Hope this helps.

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