Federal Retirement:

Benefits for Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, and Other Employees

GGD-95-78: Published: May 15, 1995. Publicly Released: May 15, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO compared the retirement benefits available to members of Congress and congressional staff with those available to other employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

GAO found that: (1) CSRS provisions for congressional members are generally more generous than those for general employees; (2) Members of Congress, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers may retire at a younger age and with fewer years of service than general and congressional employees; (3) Members, congressional staff, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and court judges enjoy a higher benefit formula than general employees; (4) air traffic controllers are covered by the general employee benefit formula, but they are guaranteed a minimum 50-percent pension; (5) general employees and Members are subject to having their pensions reduced if they retire early; (6) some special employee groups have their premium pay included in their benefit formulas; (7) employees who receive preferential benefits are required to make greater payroll contributions; (8) the FERS pension plan has many of the CSRS advantages for Members, congressional staff, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers and has eliminated or changed some CSRS provisions; and (9) under FERS, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers enjoy provisions similar to those for Members of Congress.

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