Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

TSP taxation

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Q. Are all TSP withdrawals subject to the 20-percent federal tax withholding, including full withdrawal by way of monthly payments? And is this done automatically when you set up your payout options with TSP or do you need to complete a form?

A. Not all TSP withdrawals are subject to mandatory withholding. See the table on Page 3 of the notice at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf for the rules. Mandatory and default withholding happens automatically. Anything else, you’ll have to request.

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TSP lump sum

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Q. I am a FERS employee and plan to retire at age 56. Can I take a lump-sum withdrawal from my TSP to pay off my home?

A. Yes, once you retire.

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Partial TSP withdrawal

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Q. I have 36 years of FERS service with retirement at MRA 56 and four months. If I wanted to take a partial withdrawal of TSP at retirement (early withdrawal, before 59.5), do I have to elect to do this immediately when I retire or could I wait a year and request this?

A. You may wait as long as you like.

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MRA+10 and TSP

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Q. I am going to separate from federal service on my MRA+10. I will be 56 with 25 years of service. Can I start taking money from my TSP at that time without penalty?

A. Yes.

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Pension eligibility

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Q. I have a friend who resigned from civil service in 2004 (after 20+ years). He then took all his TSP fund, closed the account and rolled it over into an IRA. He will be 60 in 2014 and he heard that he might be able to collect a retirement pension from the federal government (GS-5) in 2016 when he is 62. Is he eligible for pension and is the retirement contributions and TSP the same? Since he took his TSP funding, will that make him ineligible to collect a pension? What is the retirement contribution? Read the rest of this entry »

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SRS offset

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Q. My job will end and I plan to retire Dec. 28. I am eligible for discontinued service retirement. At the time I submit my paperwork (approximately August/September of this year), I also plan to submit my request to withdraw a lump sum out of TSP and then set up monthly withdrawals. I will be one month short of my MRA which under Discontinued Service Retirement is not an issue except when I will be eligible to supplement all of this retirement income – FERS annuity/TSP withdrawals – with the special retirement supplement. Not a big deal … I can wait the month or so to have this kick in. So I thought! Read the rest of this entry »

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Monthly withdraw

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Q. I would like to take $3,000 monthly from my TSP when I retire for the first few years, then I start collecting Social Security can I reduce my monthly payment? Then later on change the monthly amount again? I thought I read I can change my TSP payment once a year, but have been hearing from others who have retired you only have a choice of lump sum, annuity, partial lump sum and the rest in monthly payments of your choice, but it stays the same for life. Read the rest of this entry »

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TSP withdrawal

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Q. If I retire in December under MRA +10 and I’m 59 years old, how long do I have to wait to request a full withdrawal with monthly payments? Also, can I request the same day to take a partial lump-sum withdrawal, or do I have to do them separate? Read the rest of this entry »

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TSP beneficiary

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Q. I saw your response to  a TSP question about what happens to an account that is giving monthly payments (not annuity) when you die; payments stop and remaining funds go to the beneficiary. If your beneficiary (wife) also has a TSP account, are there any ways to transfer that to her TSP vs. lump payout if you die? Read the rest of this entry »

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TSP withdrawal options

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Q. I am under FERS and contribute the maximum amount into TSP. When I am eligible to retire (57-1/2), do I have to immediately start collecting out of my TSP once retired, or can I roll it over into another bank or institution into a 401K without penalty? And how does one receive payments if I can’t roll it over? Read the rest of this entry »

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