Ex-Presidents are entitled to various forms of compensation by law after they leave office.
The law, known as the Former Presidents Act, was put in place to “maintain the dignity” of the Office of the President by providing a pension, support staff, Secret Service protection, and travel funds, among other benefits.
Pension for Former Presidents
Ex-presidents currently receive a pension that is equal to pay for Cabinet Secretaries (Executive Level I), which for calendar year 2016 is $205,700. This represents a 1% increase over the previous year ($203,700 in 2015).
The President’s FY 2017 budget request seeks $3,865,000 in appropriations for expenditures for former Presidents, an increase of $588,000 (17.9%) from the FY 2016 appropriation level. However, Barack Obama will be receiving less money than any other living ex-president despite his budget seeking the $588,000 total funding increase as only $359,000 was earmarked for himself.
Congress passed legislation in 2016 that would have lowered the annual pension paid to former Presidents to $200,000 per year, however, it was vetoed by the President.
Pension for Former Vice Presidents
The pensions of former Vice Presidents are calculated differently. Vice Presidents do not receive an automatic pension as former Presidents do. Instead, Vice Presidents are granted pensions based on their service in the U. S. House of Representatives or Senate. Vice Presidents must serve at least two years to receive a pension.
Joe Biden’s pension is based on his role as President of the Senate. Assuming he was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System for the past 43 years, his pension could amount to approximately $248,670 per year.
According to their 2015 tax returns, the Obamas reported an adjusted gross income of $436,065 and paid $81,472 in total tax. The Bidens reported adjusted gross income of $392,233 and paid $91,546 in total federal taxes. See How Much Did the President and Vice President Pay in Taxes in 2015?