Benefits For Air Traffic Controllers And Others

Published: Jun 26, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1979.

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Few air traffic controllers have used the Second Career Program, which was established to help air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin a new career if they are removed from duty for medical reasons or loss of technical proficiency. Rather than begin a second career, most controllers chose to use the income security and training benefits available under other Federal programs. GAO recommended that the Second Career Program be discontinued. Although H.R. 3479 should eliminate some of the shortcomings in the Second Career Program, the bill needs to be strengthened. The medical opinion of the Federal air surgeon along with the opinion of a physician chosen by the controller would strengthen the process of determining a controller's fitness to undergo training. Controllers would benefit from the advice of a professional vocational rehabilitation counselor in developing a training proposal for submission to the Training Board of Review in the Department of Transportation. Second career training should be geared toward reemployment with FAA or elsewhere in the Federal Government. Controllers' compensation during training should be nontaxable. House Bills 1262, 1781, and 3502 would extend early retirement provisions to additional Federal employee groups, such as flight service station specialists. This is not recommended; the work of the specialist is less stressful than that of the controller. A thorough assessment should be made to establish a retirement policy for all Federal personnel.