Q. I worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 12 years. I withdrew my TSP when I left. Do I have any retirement also from the years I worked?

A. If you withdraw your retirement contributions when you left, you wouldn’t be eligible for a retirement benefit. If you didn’t, you’d first be eligible for a benefit when you reach your minimum retirement age, which ranges between 55 and 57, depending on your year of birth. However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12 of 1 percent per month) that you were under age 62.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. The TSP is not your Retirement. If you were hired after 1983, you were in FERS. You would have had to fill out another form requesting your FERS contributions be returned. If you didn’t, you can apply for a deferred retirement annuity at age 62. Form RI 92-19, Application for Deferred or Postponed Retirement (FERS), can be downloaded from OPM’s site at:
    Fill it out and send to the address on the form. OPM will let you know if you are/are not entitled to an annuity.

  2. i was hired in 1987 I have 31 years of service next week. I am ready to go and I’m not even 50 yet. I want to start somewhere else and do something I enjoy. If what phoebe above says is true, I could leave, withdraw my tsp, (which I won’t) but I can ask for my FERS contributions to be returned to me? Or, I can defer it until I’m 62 and take it them? All I have read has me backed in a corner with my age, These are the only options I read to be able to defer retirement. 62 with 5 years, 60 with 20 years or 55 with 30. If I can’t get my retirement money or defer it because of the above rules. how can someone just quit and ask for their retirement funds to be given back? I would of quit 10 years ago.

    • The choice is yours to make. You can either resign and ask for a refund of your retirement contributions or you can leave them in the fund and apply for a deferred annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 56 and 10 months.

  3. You are confusing deferred retirement. With deferred retirement, you can resign at any age. As long as you leave your FERS contributions in the retirement system and have 5 years of service, at age 62 you can apply for a FERS retirement. You can take your TSP out when you resign; that will not make a difference to your FERS retirement. TSP and FERS are 2 different things. If you resign and take out your FERS contributions, you cannot apply for a deferred retirement.

Leave A Reply