Fedweek

CBP officers prepare tools and other equipment for use in humanitarian relief and rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, September 28, 2022, in Miami. Image: CBP photo

The Senate has joined the House in passing HR-521, to preserve the benefits of federal first responders and others covered by special retirement provisions who become disabled, sending the measure to President Biden for an expected signature.

The bill would allow them to remain under the special retirement provisions for such positions if they are placed in another federal position outside of that system after returning to work from a work-related injury or illness. Sponsors say that often is the case, since such jobs involve physical demands that the individual may no longer be able to meet.

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In that situation, they currently fall under standard retirement policies and lose the credit for the higher contributions they pay into the retirement system as well as the earlier eligibility for retirement and the higher retirement benefits calculation.

According to the bill, covered persons would be those under special retirement provisions for a law enforcement officer, customs and border protection officer, firefighter, air traffic controller, nuclear materials courier, member of the Capitol Police, or member of the Supreme Court Police.

Meanwhile, the House Oversight and Reform Committee passed HR-1283, affecting a supplement paid to retired air traffic controllers between their mandatory retirement at age 56 and age 62 when eligibility for Social Security begins. Under the bill, earnings for work under the Air Traffic Control Contract Program, a public-private partnership for air traffic control services, would be exempt from a reduction that otherwise applies to outside earnings during that period.

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