Legislation Would Bring Enhanced Retirement Benefits to Nearly 30k Federal Employees

Two Senators have introduced legislation that would provide enhanced retirement benefits to nearly 30,000 federal employees in law enforcement.

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate that would bring higher salaries and better retirement benefits for federal employees in law enforcement positions.

Due to the level of training required and greater danger present in their profession, Congress determined that people in federal law enforcement positions should receive higher salaries and enhanced retirement benefits compared to other federal employees. Currently, there are nearly 30,000 federal law enforcement officers classified as GS-0083 police officers that are not eligible for enhanced benefits even though they perform the same tasks as other law enforcement officers. This categorization includes certain officers who work for federal agencies like the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Mint, National Institute of Health and many more.

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) think this needs to change. They introduced the Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act (S. 2946) this week to ensure all federal law enformcent officers receive enhanced pay and retirement benefits deemed necessary by Congress.

The bill would do the following:

  • Provides federal workers in law enforcement with 6(c) retirement benefits and the ability to retire after 20 years of service at the age of 50 or after 25 years of service at any age
  • Allows incumbent law enforcement officers federal service after the enactment of this Act to be considered service performed as a law enforcement officer for retirement purposes
  • Requires these incumbent law enforcement officers past service to be treated as service performed as a law enforcement officer for retirement purposes only if a written election is submitted to the Office of Personnel Management within five years after the enactment of this Act or before separation from government service, whichever is earlier
  • Expands the definition of “law enforcement officer” for retirement benefits to include all GS-0083 officers. That change would grant law enforcement officer status to the following:
    • Employees who are authorized to carry a firearm and whose duties include the investigation and/or apprehension of suspected criminals;
    • Employees of the Internal Revenue Service whose duties are primarily the collection delinquent taxes and securing delinquent returns;
    • Employees of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and
    • Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs who are department police officers.

“Every day our federal law enforcement officers serve and protect our communities and our most important national institutions. Unfortunately, due to a loophole in federal law, some law enforcement officers do not receive the full retirement benefits they deserve. That’s why it’s time we fix this error and ensure all federal law enforcement officers are compensated fairly for their service,” Senator Booker said. “This bill would grant all federal officers the same benefits as their colleagues. By offering fair and equal compensation, we honor their daily sacrifice and devotion to protecting public safety.”

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.