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[at-l] Social Security (Off Topic) Internet MYTH!
- Subject: [at-l] Social Security (Off Topic) Internet MYTH!
- From: jbullar1 at twcny.rr.com (Jim Bullard)
- Date: Sun Apr 17 13:24:29 2005
- In-reply-to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At 03:25 PM 4/16/2005 -0400, Bror8588@aol.com wrote:
>GET A BILL STARTED TO PLACE ALL POLITICIANS ON SOC. SEC.
>This must be an issue in "2008". Please! Keep it going.
>(This is worth reading. It is short and to the point.)
>Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years.
>Our Senators and Congresswomen do not pay into Social Security and, of
>course, they do not collect from it.
>You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their
>rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for
>themselves. So, many years ago they voted in their
>own benefit plan.
>In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it.
>After all, it is a great plan.
>For all practical purposes their plan works like this:
>When they retire, even if they only had one term in office and did nothing,
>they continue to draw the same pay until they die.
>Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments.
TOTALLY FALSE! This is an Internet MYTH! From the Congressional Institute:
>Congressional Myths and Misconceptions:
>Answers for common questions about your Representatives and Senators
>What kinds of benefits do Members receive?
>The public is frequently misled and misinformed about this question, in
>part due to confusion over the variety of current arrangements still in
>effect. Unfounded allegations of lavish pensions being awarded for only a
>few years of service and of huge annuities paid to spouses and widows have
>contributed to creating the misconception that Members receive benefits
>far beyond those that are accessible to most Americans.
>All Members are eligible to participate in the standard Federal employee
>health and life insurance coverage options under the Federal Employees
>Health Benefits Program and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program.
>The retirement benefits of Members can be much more confusing. All
>Members, like other working citizens, are required to participate in
>Social Security, paying 6.2% on the first $87,900 of their wages (the cap
>currently set for all worker earnings) and an additional 1.45% on all
>earnings for Medicare.
> From here, Congressional benefits get more complicated. An old program
> dating from 1920 for providing pensions to civil servants, the Civil
> Service Retirement System (CSRS) is still in effect for Members who first
> took office before 1984. The system was designed to provide pensions for
> officials who could be serving for a relatively limited period of time
> compared to other workers due to constantly changing political
> appointments and election results. Members still covered by the CSRS pay
> 8% of their earnings to the system, a contribution that is matched by the
> Congress. This is in addition to the 6.2% they pay on their first $87,900
> to Social Security. If a Member chooses to combine their CSRS coverage
> with Social Security, they pay 6.2% to Social Security and 1.8% to CSRS
> on the first $87,000 and 8% on everything over that. The average pension
> paid out in 2002 for CSRS was $55,788 to a total of 340 retired Members.
>In 1987, the CSRS was phased out and replaced with the Federal Employee's
>Retirement System (FERS). FERS was designed to work with Social Security
>to provide pensions for all Federal employees and requires Members to pay
>the standard 6.2% to Social Security, and an additional 1.3% on their
>first $87,900 and 1.3% on all income over that to FERS. A major innovation
>that came with FERS was the Thrift Savings Plan, which functions similarly
>to a 401(k) account and allows Members to contribute up to 14% of their
>pay (depending on IRS limits), a sum that is matched up to 5% of the
>salary by the employer.
>The actual amount a retiring Member receives per year is based on a
>formula that evaluates their years of service, highest salaries, and a
>benefits accrual rate.* The exact number varies widely from person to
>person depending on how long they worked in Congress and how they chose to
>plan for their retirement. The average retired Member in 2002 who had used
>the FERS system while in office had served for served 18.7 years and
>receives $41,856 annually. Those who had retired under the older CSRS
>system averaged 20 years of service and a retirement of $55,788 per year
>* FERS formula, as of 2004:
>[ (3-year average high salary) * .017 * (years of service through 20)] + [
>(3-year high salary average) * .01 * (years of service over 20) ] = Annual