Concerning John Lynch’s recent letter to the editor, he should do a little research before he accepts bogus email chains as fact. As the spouse of a former member of Congress, I could dispute his claims myself, but I doubt he would accept facts from me. Therefore, I urge him to do his homework, and he will find the following facts from the Congressional Research Service and FactCheck.org:
“CRS, June 13: Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80 percent of his or her final salary.”
That means that members of the House of Representatives — who are up for re-election every two years — would not be able to collect pensions of any amount if they served only one term. U.S. senators, on the other hand, serve six-year terms and would be able to collect pensions after one full term. But the pensions wouldn’t be equal to their full salaries.
FYI, members accrue at 1.7 percent per year, so after serving six years, their annual pension at age 62 is roughly $16,000. The premiums for health insurance, also available only after age 62, and Social Security are deducted from that net. Please, Mr. Lynch, check your facts first.
retired court reporter