One in Six Get Six-Figure Government Retirement Incomes
One Woman’s Opinion
By – Sheri de Grom

I’ve yet to meet a retired congressional representative or senator who referred to their retirement income as an entitlement.

I’m taking this opportunity to remind Congress that my retirement as aUS CONGRESS federal employee is governed by the same set of laws as their retirement. Why should they—members of the Congress of the United States—consider government employees, the military and social security recipients fair game for denial of cost of living increases or retirement benefit reductions?

If my performance as a federal employee had been similar to that of Congress over the past several years, I wouldn’t have had to worry about retirement. I would have lost my job and my retirement.

One in six congressional retirees currently earns annual pensions of a least $100,000. For some retired House Representatives and Senators, the perks of retirement are astounding.

In 2012, two retired lawmakers earned annuities of more than $200,000, until one died last year.

CENSOREDThe Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will not release a pension report for any given year under the Freedom of Information Act.

Seventy-nine of the four-hundred-sixty-three retired lawmakers still alive—or seventeen percent—get more than $100,000 in pensions annually.

Many lawmakers—almost all of them Republicans—have taken aim at federal employees’ pensions, introducing bills to reduce them or end them entirely. Many of those lawmakers overlook just how much more generous their pensions are and they haven’t considered doing away with their own retirement.

Lawmakers are able to retire far earlier than regular federal employees—sometimes after serving only five years in office.

Often civil service employees, the military and social security recipients willvoting receive only a marginal cost-of-living adjustment or none, while Congress will award themselves upward of 5.8 percent. The larger adjustments for Congress have increased their annual salaries year after year and thus their retirement.

In my opinion, Congress needs to clean up their own playground and learn to get along with each other before they throw stones at rank-and-file retired federal employees, the military, and those receiving social security benefits.

About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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  1. bwhite21 says:

    So many in Congress are multi-millionaires that in the interest of the Federal deficit those that are should be $1 people and waive their retirement, pension and health benefits. No deficit hawks when it comes to themselves.

  2. Truth – expressed very well! I cherish this country and the foundations upon which it was built. I fear change, but this is just not working – for anyone – be it bleeding heart Liberal, war mongering Conservative or any where in between.
    It’s great to have you back again!

  3. iamforchange says:

    Perhaps Sheri, we need to stop electing politicians… And start electing people! I have often wondered what would the effect be if politicians had to spend some time with those they keep cutting benefits and most of those earned all needed benefits from. I wonder when the last time one of those politicians voted for cutting their own benefits was? The issue is one only we as citizens and voters can fix by sending a clear message. If you want to be a politician serve your constituents rather than yourself, if you want to lead learn how to serve. Cutting the benefits of the many while taking from them increased benefits is not serving it is stealing. Just my thought… One more I choose to share for the amount it costs to buy and build one trillion dollar bomber we could afford not to cut those benefits and provide health care or even provide housing for the one in three veterans that are homeless… Heck we could perhaps end hunger and homelessness in our country for a trillion dollars as well as stop cutting those benefits and allow the politicians those retirement benefits. 350 million American citizens given a million dollars would be a great boost to our economy and create many jobs as well as improve the standard of living for every single family at the expense of one pet project. What a thought that is. However it would lead to not cutting benefits of those who need them and then what would those politicians have to do with themselves? Sorry I am as angry as you or perhaps even a little more fired up as I feel they all should be fired for incompetence.

    • Joe – I’m for firing the lot of them. It’s unfortunate the media has made it impossible for an honest, hard working and honorable American to run for public office. I have the utmost respect for Colin Powell when an attempt was made to draft him for President. He refused on the grounds that he would not allow the press to drag his wife, who suffered from depression, the agony of the press. The 5 years I worked in DC I saw far more than I really wanted to know. I never thought I would say that ignorance might be bliss. DC taught me not to trust much of anyone.

      Insiders say Pres Obama appointed General Petreas to head the CIA because he was afraid he might run for office against him. Actually, I think the man would have made a great leader. I can put his lapse in moral judgement aside.

      On a side note, how are you my friend. I worry. Drop me a note, even if it’s short. Sheri

  4. I agree with you. It’s happening at the state level, too. I spent forever living in Utah and I know legislators need to be in office ten years and then they get terrific lifetime health coverage. More than one has resigned after ten years and about one day.

    • Yes, congress is the same way. The congressional members have life time full coverage health insurance and are never required to sign up for medicare. No one else in the United States can get around the requirement to sign up (and pay for Medicare Part B) even though some of us don’t want it and don’t need it – but congressional members get a free pass. It infuriates me to no end.

  5. JK Bevill - Lost Creek Publishing says:

    Reblogged this on lost creek publishing.

  6. so much corruption ! You will be blessed friend ~ God be with you.

  7. Glynis Jolly says:

    BRAVO! AMEN! This should be in the New York Times, lady!

  8. jbw0123 says:

    You go Sheri! This hits close to home. My Dad’s a retired administrative law judge. The decline in income of ordinary folks’ came quietly and sneakily, and now public employee pensions are in the line of fire, as if living poor (unless you’re a power broker) is the new norm.

  9. What hit me the hardest was reading how a member of Congress can serve for five years and then get a “normal” retirement package? How can that be fair to those who work for ten, twenty, or thirty years, five days a week?
    And what can be done? If they hold the purse strings to their own purses, then nothing’s ever going to change.

    • Patti – There’s nothing fair about it. We as American citizens blindly allowed ‘fair’ to pass us by many years ago. Unfortunately, until congress is fired, we have little hope of redemption.

  10. terry1954 says:

    and yet living among our own neighbors is a family who wonders where there next meal will come from to feed their kids

    • Terry – so true. We see those families everywhere. They are no longer in the low rent areas of towns – the poor are now in suburbia and what we once thought of as affluent society. Congress has just refused to accept a bill addressing poverty this session.

  11. Mae Clair says:

    Well said, Sheri! Facing retirement is scary, especially when pension payments are constantly in the cross-hairs. The greed and gluttony of many in power is disgusting, especially when it’s at the expense of those who have worked hard, only to have what they were promised taken away or threatened. Shame on those who allow it to happen!

    • Mae – You are so right about retirement being scary. I was able to retire at age 54 as promised by the federal government. I put in my 80-hour work weeks (straight salary, no overtime) and loved what I was doing. But, now I’m angry. How dare Congress erode a retirement system that’s been in place for decades and served the people well. Social Security wouldn’t be in the financial mess it’s in if the country hadn’t been lied to and we were sent into the war in Iraq and now that’s led to Afghanistan. Social Security has been bled dry. I’m sure it’s safe to say that congressional members will always have a cushy retirement income.

  12. Okay, Sheri … you knew this would fire me up to volcanic proportions. My first reaction to this type of “statistic” is one of rage. How dare those who have bankrupted and destroyed our way of life have the nerve to turn around and rape our system yet again? How does it happen that the one safe-guard our country has never had is how to protect ourselves against the abuses of Congress? They screw up, overspend, misappropriate and in the end are rewarded for behavior that would put others behind bars.

    Ooooo, I could go on but I feel like I am fighting windmills and the winds of Congress are powerful and destructive. Congress cannot and will not police or monitor themselves and have long since sold us out to corporate powers. Voters have no idea that it is not the President, Congress or the Supreme Court that are pulling the strings … but the Lobbyists and their deep pockets.

    Thanks for trying, but this ex-hippie feels defeated, frustrated and saddened by what this body of people continue to do to this nation );

    • Florence – My dear friend – I’m right in there with you. I’d fire the entire lot and go to an entire different form of government – heaven knows what we have is worthless. We’ve been sold down the river more times than I care to remember. Congress has made the middle class non-existent. Known crooks continue to be reelected. We cannot expect anything positive to happen. I knew this post would get under your skin but I couldn’t help myself. When I started researching the numbers after I discovered what Congress and the Prez. want to do to overhaul the federal retirement system but not touch the retirement system for congress, I just couldn’t resist. I had to put the numbers out there.

  13. Jane Sadek says:

    We SO need to clean up our federal budget. It’s obscene. This is not what the founding fathers had in mind. We need to get back to a time when SERVING in our government was a sacrifice people offered out of love for their country rather than a cushy career choice. Every time I see video of Obama stepping on Air Force One I wonder if they don’t have Skpe and Go To Meeting at the White House.

    • Jane – Years before I retired (and that was 1999) I used tele-conferencing to cut the budget for my department. We didn’t have Skpe but tele-conferencing was an effective tool. I could talk face-to-face with the other 18 military hospitals I ran investigations in up and down the east coast without traveling to each one with my team. Think how much we could carve away from our national debt if members of congress actually stayed in DC to work instead of going home at the drop of a hat. I don’t send my congressional representatives to Washington to run back and forth to DC, I send them to DC to get work done there!

  14. I couldn’t agree more, all the years of paying in and because I am disabled only receive a percentage, how on earth am I supposed to live on $8500.00 annually and that is before medicare charges and supplemental insurance payments? while the fat cats get fatter the rest of us bloat due to poor diet and medical care, cost of living isn’t even in most of our vocabularies anymore yet we are “entitled”? Excuse me I am ‘entitled’ as an American citizen born and raised through and through to LIFE, LIBERTY and HAPPINESS, my LIFE quality is dismal, LIBERTY left the building and HAPPINESS is when I have enough money to buy groceries instead of meds.
    sorry sherri just got me on my soap box grrrrr…

    • Len – Never apologize for what is your right as an American citizen. IMO, Congress has failed the citizens of this great country so many times over the past decade that the entire lot needs to be fired and without a retirement to take with them. We watch the members of Congress continue to give themselves cost of living adjustments year after year while they approve none for the remainder of the individuals of the United States that are entitled to the same if not more than Congress. I dare that any of them have ever worked half as hard as the rest of us.

      • I agree with you there…it is so very frustrating but without as you say firing them all there is no real rememdy that I cn see. I just wish for one year heck even six months they could live as I do then see how fast things would change! tahnk you for all that you do and have done in pursuit of making things right! 🙂

  15. Valid argument but does this logic work in real life? What is it that brings about such great disparities between the Haves and the Have-Nots all around the globe? Somewhere intrinsically there is the difference in the value that each one of us is perceived to be bringing in. Whether we accept this reality or not is another matter.

    Cheers, let us count our blessings instead of griping.


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