By Mike Miles
December 10th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am 46 with 22 years of service, and have been told that I will soon receive a letter of directed reassignment to a job in my same grade far outside my commuting area. When the letter arrives, if I should decline to move to the new position, what are my options for drawing retirement? How about insurance? Severance pay? What about my 401(k) in the Thrift Savings Plan? My performance ratings are not an issue.
A. Mike: Your circumstances will not affect the usual rules that apply to your TSP account. As long as you remain employed, you will be subject to the in-service withdrawal rules described at https://www.tsp.gov/planparticipation/inservicewithdrawals/basics.shtml. If you separate from service, the rules described at https://www.tsp.gov/planparticipation/withdrawals/accountOptions.shtml will apply. If you separate from service before the calendar year in which you reach age 55, you will be subject to the Internal Revenue Service’s early withdrawal penalty unless you meet one of the exceptions specified on Page 7 of the notice at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf.
Reg: Because you wouldn’t meet the age and service requirements to retire, you’d only have one option. If you didn’t take a refund of your retirement contributions, you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 60.
You would be entitled to severance pay only if you lost your job through no fault of your own. However, if you were to resign or decline a reasonable offer, you wouldn’t. A reasonable offer is defined as one that is in the same agency, in the same commuting area, of the same tenure and work schedule, and not more than two grades or pay levels below your current position. Note: If you are covered by a mobility agreement, the reasonable offer exception wouldn’t apply.
You would be given a month of free Federal Employees Group Life Insurance and Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance coverage. At the end of that period, you could elect private life insurance coverage at your own expense. You could also elect to continue your health insurance coverage for up to 18 months under the temporary continuation of coverage provision. For that coverage you would pay 100 percent of the premiums, plus 2 percent for administrative expenses.
August 20th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am 57 years old with 25 years of Veterans Affairs Department service. I plan to leave federal service in April 2013. I would like to resign and postpone my FERS annuity until I reach 60 years old. I would like to start withdrawing from my Thrift Savings Plan soon after resignation. Is this possible to start withdrawals after separation, or must one be in a retired federal service status before starting TSP withdrawals?
A. You may start withdrawals after your separation from service.
May 18th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I have resigned from my position with the federal government in order to attend graduate school effective in May and will have been employed for a year and 10 months. I realize I need to be employed for three years for TSP vesting requirements, and I will likely forfeit my automatic 1 percent agency contribution in May, but after grad school, I intend to return to work for the federal government. How does this work with vesting in this situation? Would I be returned the 1 percent agency contribution (plus interest?) upon working an additional year and two months after graduate school, or is it not possible to recover the forfeited amount?
A. All federal civilian service counts toward the Thrift Savings Plan vesting requirements. Your forfeited agency contributions will not be restored, however.