According to a Bloomberg report, nearly 15,000 federal retirees, including former leaders of Congress, are receiving six-figure pensions – from a system that is currently facing a $674.2 billion shortfall.
Data obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act shows about one of every 125 retired federal civilian workers collects more than $100,000 in benefits annually, including physicians, postal workers and retired politicians, according to the report.
Irving K. Jordan Jr., former president of Gallaudet University in Washington, led the list at $375,900. Maxey D. Love Jr., of Columbia, South Carolina, is second on the list at $322,272 a year. As president of a farm credit bank, his salary topped $300,000 a year.
Former U.S. Representative Robert Michel, 88, a Republican from Illinois, is collecting $211,452, fourth on the list and more than any other congressional branch employee. Due to cost of living adjustments, he, along with at least 48,500 retirees, is making more now than he did on the federal payroll.
The report says the following about retired politicians:
Former lawmakers, including some who have become lobbyists or strategic consultants, also received six-figure pensions, according to the OPM database. They include former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt ($106,512 for 28 years of work as a Missouri Democratic congressman); Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle ($105,804 for 33 years as a South Dakota Democratic lawmaker); Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole ($144,432 for 40 years as a Kansas Republican lawmaker); and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott ($110,352 after 39 years as a Republican lawmaker from Mississippi).
Edward J. Derwinski had the highest pension of any former cabinet official, collecting $193,368 annually after more than 36 years of federal work that included 24 years as an Illinois congressman before he became the first secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Derwinski, 85, died Sunday.
The list includes former Vice President Dick Cheney ($125,976 for 28 years of work, including as a Wyoming congressman, White House chief of staff, and defense secretary)…and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, receives a pension of $100,200 after 20 years in Congress, according to the data.
Changes to the federal retirement system in 1986 brought federal workers hired after 1984 into the Social Security system. Other changes made included offering a thrift savings plan similar to 401(k) and requiring 30 years of service to retire with a full pension.
Read the entire report here.
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