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Many retired lawmakers have six-figure pensions

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Nearly 17 percent of retired federal lawmakers earn an annual pension of more than $100,000, reports Federal Times.

According to documents obtained under the Freedom Of Information Act, Fed Times says that of all retired congressmen from the past 30 years, 114, or 14.7 percent, have taken home more than $100,000 each year in pensions. Four have earned more than $174,000 annually starting in 2012--more, in fact, than the current salary of a senator or representative.

The Office of Personnel Management did not release the retired lawmakers' names or redacted pension records due to privacy concerns.

USA Today recently reported that 21,000 out of roughly 1.9 million retired federal employees--roughly 1.1 percentearn pensions of more than $100,000.

The average retired federal lawmaker has an annual pension of $57,641 while the average federal employee under the Civil Service Retirement System has an annual pension of $35,000. Those under the Federal Employee Retirement System receive $12,780  for their annual pensions.

Congressmen can get full retirement benefits at age 62 with five years of service, at age 50 with 20 years of service, and at any age with 25 years of service. Pension rates are also calculated at higher rates than other federal employees under the CSRS and FERS programs.

While the law says that pensions cannot start above 80 percent of a lawmaker's final salary, Robert Tobias, director of American University's Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation, told Fed Times there are three main reasons for such high pensions: big base salaries for lawmakers, a boost to the pension calculation rate compared to other federal workers, and the accumulation of years' of cost-of-living adjustments.

For more:
- read the full Federal Times article
- see the USA Today article on overall federal pensions

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