Will you be forced to contribute more money to your federal government pension?
As always, that’s up to Congress.
A House budget bill earlier this year suggested federal workers should pay 6.6 percent of their salary to the Federal Employees Retirement System — the fund where all federal employee pension contributions is funneled into to be invested and redistributed to retired workers.
That percentage was apparently arrived at through a recommendation from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a commission created by President Obama to develop “policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run,” according to FierceGovernment.
According to that House budget bill, all federal employees — no matter when they were hired — would have to pay 6.6 percent of their salary to FERS. All federal employees also included members of Congress and their staffers.
By law today, anyone hired before 2013 contributes 0.8 percent; federal workers hired in 2013 contribute 3.1 percent; and those who were hired in 2014, and all new employees afterwards, contribute 4.4 percent of their salary. (The law used to be all workers contribute 0.8 percent regardless of when they were hired; Congress changed that to decrease the cost of pension benefits on the U.S. Treasury.)
However, a somewhat new, non-binding budget proposal that is currently being debated in Congress nixes the 6.6 percent requirement and keeps contributions as they are currently defined by law.
However, as Federal News Radio notes on an article posted on its website, the key word is “non-binding.”
And the bill in which the suggested contribution hike was inserted has yet to go before the full House and Senate for a vote. The bill is called the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2016.
We’d like to say it is likely Congress won’t change your pension contribution rate. Still, you never know.
And of course, now the annual rumbles about a possible government shutdown are beginning to erupt in the halls of Congress — despite promises by leadership in both parties that they have no intention of putting themselves, the American people, and the federal workforce through another round of government shutdown madness. But that’s part of the wheel-and-deal game of Congress.
Whether federal pensions are used as a bargaining chip is a wait-and-see game. Whatever happens, we’ll keep you posted about your federal retirement benefits on this blog.