A Proposed OPM Rule Would Align Congressional Retirement Dates and Contributions With Those of Feds
Laws passed in 2012 and 2013 changed retirement benefits and contributions for members of Congress and their staff.
A new rule proposed by the Office of Personnel Management will make lawmakers and congressional staff’s Federal Employees' Retirement System contributions and retirement dates the same as other federal workers.
OPM is proposing this rule to amend the Code of Federal Regulations to be consistent with the provisions enacted by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.
The job creation legislation changed retirement benefits and contributions for members of Congress and staffers. Under the 2013 budget bill, members of Congress and their staffers would pay the same contribution and retire at the same time as other federal workers.
An OPM memo said “because of the uncertain tenure of congressional service, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) was originally designed, as CSRS had been, to provide a larger benefit for each year of service to Members of Congress or congressional employees than to most other federal employees. Prior to the enactment of the 2012 Act, all Members of Congress (Members) or congressional employees became eligible for retirement annuities at an earlier age and with fewer years of service than most other federal employees. However, all Members or congressional employees paid a higher percentage of employee deductions for their retirement benefits than most other federal employees.”
Before these laws were passed, members of Congress and their staffers paid more into FERS in exchange for earlier retirement eligibility.
The new set of regulations ensures the changes enacted under the two laws will take effect – albeit 10 years after they were originally proposed. All federal workers will pay 3.1% of their basic pay into FERS annuity if first covered after Dec. 31, 2012. Workers will pay 4.4% of their basic pay into FERS if first covered after Dec. 31, 2013.
Members first elected after Dec. 31, 2012, will remain eligible for retirement annuities under FERS at earlier ages and with fewer years of service than regular federal employees.
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