Congressional lawmakers would have to wait until they reach the Social Security retirement age to access their federal annuity benefits under new legislation.
Lawmakers now do not have to wait until they turn the Social Security retirement age -- which typically ranges from 65 to 67, depending on year of birth -- to tap their pensions. Under the Federal Employees' Retirement System, lawmakers are eligible for an immediate, full pension at age 62 or older, if they have completed at least five years of service; they are eligible at age 50 or older if they've served 20 years, or at any age after completing 25 years of federal service. Under the Civil Service Retirement System, members of Congress are eligible for an immediate, full pension at age 60 or older, after a decade of service, or age 62 after five years of federal service.
The amount of their pension depends on their number of years of service and the average of their highest three years of salary. Lawmakers typically become eligible for retirement annuities at an earlier age and with fewer years of service than most other federal employees but also pay more of their salary for retirement benefits.
"It's time for members of Congress to walk in the shoes of everyday Americans," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the bill's sponsor, during a conference call with reporters last week. "Why should members of Congress be treated differently than a steelworker, a waitress or a nurse?"
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