AFGE Wins Pension Protections for Federal Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters

AFGE is declaring victory after President Barack Obama signed into law legislation that eliminates a financial penalty facing retired federal law enforcement officers, federal firefighters, and air traffic controllers.

Obama signed the bill this week after it passed both the Senate and House. The bill eliminates a 10% early withdrawal penalty for the impacted individuals when they retire after age 50. The bill will apply to individuals retiring after Dec. 31, 2015.

“AFGE has been working for years to eliminate this penalty, and we are grateful to Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington for taking the lead on getting the legislation through their respective chambers,” AFGE Legislative Director Beth Moten said.

To help agencies recruit and retain a young, physically fit workforce, federal law enforcement officers and firefighters are eligible to retire after 20 years of service at age 50. But under the current law, they have to pay a 10% penalty if they withdraw their retirement savings through the Thrift Savings Plan before turning 55. State and local law enforcement officers do not face this penalty.

“Federal law enforcement officers have been unfairly penalized because of this law, but that will change starting next year,” Moten said.

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