LEO Equity For All – Men and Women in UniformMay 17, 2014 / by Dianna Tafazoli
Often when we think of men and women in uniform, our minds drift to our brave men and women who serve in the military. The highest honor should go to them. However, we have another cadre of brave men and women in uniform and they are law enforcement officers (LEO) and firefighters.
Because of the nature and danger involved in the work these civilians perform, their retirement provisions are unique. They are able to retire at an earlier age than most, long before they first become eligible to receive Social Security benefits at age 62. These fine men and women are able to retire at age 50 with 20 years of service and at any age with 25 years of service and at times have mandatory retirement ages that must be adhered to. However, age 59 1/2 carries some significance in terms of making withdrawals from their TSP. You may begin withdrawing from qualified retirement plans at age 59 1/2 if retired or from an IRA without incurring the 10 percent penalty.
Congress recognized in 2006 that 50 year old state and local public safety officials should be allowed to withdraw from their retirement accounts without suffering a 10% penalty because they had not reached age 59 1/2. If they could retire early due to the uniqueness of their jobs, then they should be able to reap the benefits thereof. The passing of that legislation in 2006 unfortunately did not extend to federal LEOs and Firefighters.
Congressmen Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Dave Reichert (R-WA) have introduced legislation that would give federal law enforcement officers and firefighters the same withdrawal privileges and access to their retirement accounts as local and state safety officials without suffering a penalty. This legislation just makes good sense and we commend these Congresmen for putting this very important issue forward. Law Enforcement Officials and Firefighters are united in their selfless commitment to protect the citizens of this nation and we as citizens support measures to give back to them for putting their lives on the line each and every day.
Many citizens become disenchanted with the slow movement of Congress sometimes and many think they just aren’t doing enough for the average citizen. However, the legislation introduced by Congressmen Reichert and Pascrell renews our confidence in the men and women we elect to make laws that serve the best interest of our citizens. Congressmen thank you for thinking of those who protect us all.
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