Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits [March 21, 2013]   [open pdf - 407KB]

"The Former Presidents Act (FPA; 3 U.S.C. §102 note) charges the General Services Administration (GSA) with providing former Presidents a pension, support staff, office support, travel funds, and mailing privileges. The FPA was enacted to 'maintain the dignity' of the Office of the President. The act provides the former President--and his or her spouse--certain benefits to help him respond to post-presidency mail and speaking requests, among other informal public duties often required of a former President. Prior to enactment of the FPA in 1958, former Presidents leaving office received no pension or other federal assistance. Former Presidents currently receive a pension that is equal to pay for Cabinet Secretaries (Executive Level I), which is $199,700 in 2013. In addition to benefits provided pursuant to the FPA, former Presidents are also provided Secret Service protection and financial 'transition' benefits to assist their transition to post-presidential life. Pursuant to the FPA, former Presidents are eligible for benefits unless they hold 'an appointive or elective office or position in or under the Federal Government or the government of the District of Columbia to which is attached a rate of pay other than a nominal rate.' For FY2013, the President's budget requested $3,779,000 for expenditures for former Presidents, $108,000 (2.9%) more than the $3,671,000 appropriated for FY2012 (P.L. [Public Law] 112-74)."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34631
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