Members of Congress Retire With The Same Pay as Their Salaries and Don’t Pay Into Social Security-Fiction!


Summary of eRumor:

The email says members of congress, both Senators and the House of Representatives, don’t pay into Social Security but do have a special retirement plan that continues their active salary until death.
The email encourages pulling “…the Golden Fleece retirement out from under the Senators and Congressmen, and put them in Social Security with the rest of us.”

The Truth:

Congressional pensions are controversial and many believe they should be reformed, but this email has several inaccuracies.
First, it is not true that members of congress don’t pay into Social Security.
It’s been required of them since 1983, according to Andrew G. Biggs, Social Security Analyst for the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C..
Additionally, Biggs says Congress does have its own retirement plan which does pay a generous pension to retired members of congress plus they are eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a 401k-type investment program available to all federal employees.
Depending on a person’s length of service, it is possible to retire with annual income that is equivalent to a Congressional salary, but no member of Congress automatically retires with his or her salary being paid as pension. was unable to find the source for the alleged Bill Bradley retirement calculations.

A later version of the eRumor said it was written by Rush Limbaugh, but that was added by someone along the way and is not true.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

So that any who don’t, may know.

Our Senators and Congressmen don’t pay in to Social Security, and, of course, they don’t collect from it.

The reason is that they have a special retirement plan that they voted for themselves many years ago. For all practical purposes, it works like this:

When they retire, they continue to draw their same pay, until they die, except that it may be increased from time to time, by cost of living adjustments.

For instance, former Senator Bradley, and his wife, may be expected to draw $7,900,000, with Mrs. Bradley drawing $275,000 during the last year of her life. This is calculated on an average life span for each.

This would be well and good, except that they paid nothing in on any kind of retirement, and neither does any other Senator or Congressman.

This fine retirement comes right out of the General Fund: our tax money. While we who pay for it all, draw an average of $1000/month from Social Security.

Imagine for a moment that you could structure a retirement plan so desirable that people would have extra deducted so that they could increase their own personal retirement income. A retirement plan that works so well, that Railroad employees, Postal Workers, and others who aren’t in it, would clamor to get in.

That is how good Social Security could be, if only one small change were made. That change is to jerk the Golden Fleece retirement out from under the Senators and Congressmen, and put them in Social Security with the rest of us. Then watch how fast they fix it.

If enough people receive this, maybe one or some of them along the way, might be able to help. How many can YOU send it to?