Retiring before vs. after VERA


Q. I’m 57 years old, started with the Postal Service in June 1987, bought back five years and nine months of military time. What would be the difference in benefits between retiring if a VERA is offered and retiring before a VERA is offered? Would I be penalized on my Thrift Savings Plan? Can I get the Social Security supplement? Would I be able to collect Social Security supplement either way?

Reg Jones: There wouldn’t be any difference. Since you already have the right combination of age and years of service, you can retire whenever you want to. Voluntary Early Retirement Authorities are only useful for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to retire on an immediate annuity.

Mike Miles: Since you’d be retiring during or after the calendar year in which you reached age 55, you would have access to your TSP account without incurring the early withdrawal penalty.


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

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