Wed May 6th, 2020
Sponsor: Sen. James Inhofe — R — OK
Exempts certain retired air traffic controllers from an income limit related to when they can receive retirement benefits. Air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must retire by age 56—six years before reaching age 62, the age at which people can qualify for old-age insurance benefits under title II of the Social Security Act. Depending on when they entered federal service, air traffic controllers earn retirement benefits either through the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Under current law, retired air traffic controllers covered by FERS who are younger than 62 receive supplemental annuity payments if their incomes do not exceed $18,240. That income threshold is adjusted annually for inflation. For every $2 in earnings above the threshold, retirees’ supplemental annuity benefits are reduced by $1. Those payments are disbursed from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and are recorded in the budget as direct spending. (CSRS retirees, whose benefit structure differs significantly from FERS retirees, are not eligible for such payments.) Under the bill, those air traffic controllers would receive full annuity supplements even if their income exceeded the statutory limit. Specifically, the bill would exempt those retired controllers covered by FERS who are also employed under federal contracts as controllers at FAA contract towers.
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