The House this week passed an AFGE-backed bill that would allow federal law enforcement officers to access their retirement investments without incurring a penalty. A letter AFGE sent to members of Congress was cited during debate before the bill, H.R. 2146, was approved 407-5.
“The American Federation of Government Employees writes, on a daily basis federal firefighters, correctional workers, customs and border protection officers, federal law enforcement officers secure our federal buildings safely, handle the most dangerous offenders behind bars, patrol our nation's borders,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell from New Jersey. “When these federal employees meet all the established requirements for federal retirement, they deserve full access to their government retirement plan. Let's honor the faithful commitment these officers have showed us by showing our commitment here on the floor of the house. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.”
Federal law enforcement officers are working dangerous jobs, and because of that, they are eligible to retire after 20 years of service at age 50 to help agencies recruit and retain a young, physically fit workforce. But under the current law, they have to pay a 10% penalty if they withdraw their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) before turning 55. It’s simply unfair, especially because state and local law enforcement officers are also eligible to retire at age 50 but are exempt from the 10% penalty.
AFGE applauds the House of Representatives for trying to correct this discrepancy. We’re urging the Senate to join the House in sending a strong message to our law enforcement officers that we value their service.
AFGE’s Federal Firefighter's Council and Council of Prisons Locals have fought for the elimination of 10% penalty for the past several years. Earlier this year the Council of Prisons Locals worked with Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to introduce S. 380, Correctional Officer Fairness Act of 2015, that would do just that. The council is working with the senator to get this bill passed in the Senate.
AFGE is also pushing another bill, H.R. 1850, which would extend law enforcement retirement coverage to Federal Protective Service officers who are not considered LEOs for the purpose of calculating retirement benefits.
“FPS officers carry guns, make arrests, perform investigations, and apprehend criminals,” said AFGE Local 918 President David Wright. “They are law enforcement officers in every sense of the word, and they should be entitled to law enforcement retirement benefits.”