Publication Date

9-5-2017

Abstract

Federal law enforcement officers, as defined in statute, and a few related occupations—such as federal firefighters and air traffic controllers—are eligible for enhanced retirement benefits. Congress decided that these occupations should be composed of young men and women who possess the strength and endurance necessary to perform the required duties. Enhanced retirement benefits help to maintain this type of workforce by permitting employees in these positions to retire earlier and accrue pension benefits faster during earlier years of service than regular civilian federal employees. Many individuals and employee groups who work in law enforcement-related positions, but who have not qualified as law enforcement officers for retirement purposes, have sought enhanced benefits through legislation in recent Congresses. Incorporating additional occupations may address problems of attrition and perceived inequity across law enforcement-related positions. However, expanding access to enhanced retirement benefits also generates concerns over additional expenditures on federal retirement benefits.

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Suggested Citation
Isaacs, K. P. (2017). Retirement benefits for federal law enforcement personnel (CRS Report R42631). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

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