Will Andrew McCabe Get His Pension?

Andrew McCabe 60 Minutes Interview

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Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI, told 60 Minutes that he ordered the investigation of President Trump to look into whether he may have been acting as an agent of Russia, either knowingly or unwittingly.

McCabe told CBS’ Scott Pelley that he took this move soon after James Comey had been fired in order to ensure the Russian probe could continue. He said in the interview, “I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion that were I removed quickly or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace.”

McCabe was fired by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March of 2018, after he was accused of allowing an aide to talk to the media about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

This happened right before he would have been eligible for early retirement at the age of 50. One of the questions asked at the time was whether McCabe would still receive his government pension. The short answer is yes, he will still get his pension, but McCabe lost out on early retirement benefits and an extra annuity.

Here’s what you need to know.


Federal Law Enforcement Officials Are Eligible to Begin Receiving Retirement Benefits at Age 50 Unless They Are Removed From Their Job For Cause

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Certain jobs within the federal government mandate retirement earlier than the private sector due to the physical demands of the job. The Congressional Research Service explains:

“In general, law enforcement personnel are subject to mandatory retirement at age 57, or as soon as 20 years of service have been completed after age 57. The maximum age of entry, which is intended to ensure full retirement benefits upon reaching mandatory retirement age, is typically age 37. Under both CSRS and FERS, law enforcement personnel are eligible for their enhanced benefits at the age of 50 provided they have completed the minimum requirement of 20 years of service.”

McCabe began working for the FBI in 1996. The Research Service also explains that law enforcement officials receive an annuity as part of their pension plan.

“Under both CSRS and FERS, the date an employee is eligible to retire and receive an annuity depends on his or her age and years of service. As described above, to provide quality law enforcement services, and in consideration of the physical and psychological demands imposed on law enforcement personnel, Congress has deemed it necessary to maintain a young and vigorous workforce. For that reason Congress has made provisions for a mandatory retirement age and, subsequently, a maximum age of entry for law enforcement personnel. Law enforcement personnel may be eligible for enhanced benefits after achieving the minimum retirement age and years of service.”

For the annuity calculation, the salary used is the average of the highest three consecutive years of base pay. The pension for a general federal employee is “Years of Service × High-Three Salary × Accrual Rate.” The formula used to calculate annuity for law enforcement personnel is:

“FERS Annual Pension = [Years of Service (not exceeding 20 years) × High-Three Salary × 0.017] + [Years of Service (exceeding 20) × High-Three Salary ×0.01]”

A law enforcement officer is eligible to receive an annuity at the age of 50 after completing at least 20 years of service, “except by removal for cause on charges of misconduct or delinquency.” McCabe would not be eligible for that extra annuity due to the nature of his firing.


McCabe Will Still Receive His Government Pension

Andrew G. McCabe, right, then-Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office speaks while flanked by Dana J. Boente, left,U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, after a hearing in federal court June 11, 2015 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Getty)

As referenced above, Andrew McCabe began working for the FBI in 1996. That means he would have been paying into the Federal Employees Retirement System for 22 years. He is still eligible to receive a pension for his two decades of service.

Based on the rules of the Federal Employees Retirement System, McCabe would be able to begin receiving pension payments just before his 57th birthday, which is the Minimum Retirement Age. He could also choose to wait until age 62.

McCabe may still receive an annuity, but likely at a lower rate due to his firing. The Congressional Research Service explains that “Law enforcement personnel in FERS accrue benefits at the rate of 1.7% per year for the first 20 years of service and 1% per year for each year thereafter.” CNN reported in March of 2018 that McCabe may have lost out on that enhanced rate when calculating his pension.

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