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Highlights

The Judicial Survivors' Annuities System (JSAS) was created in 1956 to provide financial security for the families of deceased federal judges. It provides benefits to eligible spouses and dependent children of judges who elect coverage within 6 months of taking office, 6 months after getting married, or 6 months after being elevated to a higher court, or during an open season authorized by statute. Active and senior judges currently contribute 2.2 percent of their salaries to JSAS, and retired judges contribute 3.5 percent of their retirement salaries to JSAS. Pursuant to the Federal Courts Administration Act of 1992 (Pub. L. No. 102-572), GAO is required to review JSAS costs every 3 years and determine whether the judges' contributions fund 50 percent of the plan's costs. If the contributions fund less than 50 percent of these costs, GAO is to determine what adjustments to the contribution rates would be needed to achieve the 50 percent ratio. GAO is not making any recommendations in this report. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) believes that GAO should be recommending a reduction in the judges' contribution rate. GAO disagrees with AOUSC's interpretation of the act's requirements.

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