Federal Pensions:

Judicial Survivors' Annuities System Costs

GGD-00-125: Published: May 25, 2000. Publicly Released: May 25, 2000.

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Michael Brostek
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed certain aspects of the Judicial Survivors' Annuities Systems (JSAS), which provides annuities to the surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased federal judges and other judicial officials who participate in JSAS.

GAO noted that: (1) the participating judges did not pay one-half of the JSAS normal cost during fiscal years 1996 through 1998; (2) they paid on average about 40 percent over the 3-year period; (3) however, the participating judges' contributions represented an increasing share of normal costs over the period, starting at about 36 percent in fiscal year 1996 and growing to about 45 percent in fiscal year 1998; (4) on the basis of information contained in JSAS' 1998 actuarial report, to cover one-half of the future costs, the judges'contribution would need to increase 0.3 percentage points above the 2.2 percent of salary currently paid by retired judges; and (5) increasing required contributions could affect the judges' rate of participation, which was one of the major reasons for enhancing JSAS' benefits and reducing the judges contributions in 1992.

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