Some VERIFY readers have asked whether federal retirees will receive pensions during the government shutdown. Here’s what we found.
The United States is headed toward a federal government shutdown, which could delay payments to many federal workers if Congress does not pass a funding plan by September 30.
Many VERIFY readers have questions about the potential shutdown, including whether retired federal employees will still receive retirement checks.
Will retired federal workers still be paid during the government shutdown?
Yes, retired federal employees will still be paid during the government shutdown.
WHAT WE FOUND
Retired federal workers will still receive retirement income during the government shutdown. That’s because Congress does not have to approve annual funding for federal pension benefits.
When federal workers retire, they are generally eligible to receive monthly retirement income called annuity payments, commonly known as pensions. John Hatton of the National Association of Retired and Active Federal Employees (NARFE) told VERIFY that retirement annuity payments fall under the category of “mandatory” government spending.
Mandatory spending is required under existing federal law and does not require an annual vote by Congress, The US Treasury Department explains. Funding entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare also falls under the mandatory spending category.
RELATED: No, a government shutdown will not stop or delay Social Security payments
“Annuities are ‘mandatory’ expenditures, made pursuant to applicable law, and paid out of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Trust Fund (CSRDF),” Hatton said. “Thus, the payment of the annuity is not dependent on the budgetary authority allocated annually.”
US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Oversight of US civilian agenciesincludes health insurance and retirement benefits programs for government employees. In the latest shutdown guidance issued in December 2021OPM said federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) will “still receive scheduled annuity payments on workdays.” first thing of the month”.
Most federal civilian workers hired before 1984 are covered by CSRS, while those hired in 1984 or later are covered by FERS, The Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in a report.
If a federal employee has recently retired and their agency or payroll center has submitted an application to OPM, they will begin receiving interim annuity payments while their application processed, according to the 2021 decommissioning guidelines.
But those who have not yet applied for retirement may face delays during the shutdown as agencies providing essential information may be closed, the guidance said.
Like other federal retirees, military veterans will also continue to receive pensions during the shutdown.
Denis McDonough, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said: “In the event of a shutdown… VA will continue to process and provide benefits to veterans, including compensation benefits, pensions, education and housing”. Press conference September 22, 2023.