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New Member

Does my 1099-R retirement as an air traffic controller constitute money earned as a public safety employee?

Air traffic controllers are under the same early retirement program as firefighters and federal law enforcement officials 

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Level 15

Does my 1099-R retirement as an air traffic controller constitute money earned as a public safety employee?

Unfortunately no, 

"If you are an eligible retired public safety officer (law enforcement officer, firefighter, chaplain, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew), you can elect to exclude from income distributions made from an eligible retirement plan that are used to pay the premiums for accident or health insurance or long-term care insurance."

Source:  page 18, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p721.pdf

Page 1 of this same document acknowledges that you (air traffic controllers) do have same retirement plan as public safety officers and are exempt from penalties for drawing at the earlier age, however, the rest of this provision did not the carryover.  

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Highlighted
Level 15

Does my 1099-R retirement as an air traffic controller constitute money earned as a public safety employee?

Unfortunately no, 

"If you are an eligible retired public safety officer (law enforcement officer, firefighter, chaplain, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew), you can elect to exclude from income distributions made from an eligible retirement plan that are used to pay the premiums for accident or health insurance or long-term care insurance."

Source:  page 18, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p721.pdf

Page 1 of this same document acknowledges that you (air traffic controllers) do have same retirement plan as public safety officers and are exempt from penalties for drawing at the earlier age, however, the rest of this provision did not the carryover.  

View solution in original post

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New Member

Does my 1099-R retirement as an air traffic controller constitute money earned as a public safety employee?

The correct answer is YES.
Public Safety Officer and Public Safety Employee have two completely different definitions and apply to two completely different tax deductions. No provisions carried over from one group to the other. "Public Safety Officer" deals with health insurance premium deduction and "Public Safety Employee" deals with 10% early withdrawal penalty exemption. The only recent change has been to add the professions below to the Employee list.  
Expanded exception to the tax on early distributions from a governmental plan for qualified public safety employees. For tax years beginning after December 31, 2015, in addition to those employees described in Qualified public safety employees under Tax on Early Distributions in Pub. 575, Pension and Annuity Income, the definition is expanded to include the following.
Federal law enforcement officers.
Federal customs and border protection officers.
Federal firefighters.
Air traffic controllers.
Nuclear materials couriers.
Members of the United States Capitol Police.
Members of the Supreme Court Police.
Diplomatic security special agents of the United
States Department of State.

Public Safety Officer is defined in: 

OMNIBUS CRIME CONTROL AND SAFE STREETS ACT OF 1968 1 [Public Law 90–351; 82 Stat. 197]
42 U.S.C. § 3796b Sec. 1204 Definitions

Public Safety Employee is defined in:
IRC Section 72(t)(10), as amended by the Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act, P.L. 114-26.