Federal Pensions:

Judicial Survivors' Annuities System Costs

GAO-02-763: Published: Jun 26, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2002.

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The Federal Courts Administration Act of 1992 requires GAO to review certain aspects of the Judicial Survivors' Annuities System (JSAS), one of several survivor benefit plans applicable to federal employees. JSAS provides annuities to surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased Supreme Court Justices, judges of the United States, and other participating judicial officials. For the 3 years covered by GAO's review, the judges' contributions represented more than 50 percent of the JSAS normal costs for fiscal year 1999, but less than 50 percent for fiscal years 2000 and 2001. To cover 50 percent of JSAS estimated future normal costs, the judges' contributions would need to increase by 0.1 percentage point above the 2.2 percent of salaries paid by retired judges. However, increasing required contributions could reduce the judges' rate of participation even though increasing participation was one of the main reasons for enhancing JSAS benefits and reducing judges' contributions in 1992.

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