Retired U.S. Presidents Receive a Generous Pension, But Not as Generous As Some Think

Political Myth: Retired U.S. Presidents receive a pension of $450,000 for life.

Reality: Their pension is actually slightly under $200,000

Explanation

Prior to 1952, former presidents did not receive retirement benefits at all.  Then, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act (3 U.S.C. § 102 note), and provided for former presidents a lifetime pension equal to the salary of the highest paid member of the cabinet.  Currently, that amounts to $191,000.

In addition to the aforementioned pension, former presidents are also entitled to transition expenses, staff and office expenses, a travel allowance, health care provided by the military, secret service protection for 10 years after leaving office, and a military funeral upon his death.  Those are, indeed, generous benefits, but they do not amount to the $450,000 annual pension some have claimed.

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