Social Security benefit


Q. I have 30 years in as a letter carrier, but I’m only 55. Will I be eligible to receive Social Security at this age and if so how much? Also, can I withdraw money from my TSP before 59 and a half to pay off my mortgage without the early withdrawal penalty?

A. Because you are a FERS employee, you wouldn’t be eligible to retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity until age 56. At that point, you’d be entitled to the special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee. That benefit ends at age 62, when you first become eligible for a real Social Security benefit.

[From Federal Times columnist and financial expert Mike Miles]: As long as you separate from service during or after the year you reach age 55, your TSP withdrawals in retirement will be exempt from the early withdrawal penalty. This, and the other exceptions to the penalty are listed on page 7 of the notice at:


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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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