Ahead of Police Week, Lankford, Sinema Want to Bring Clarity to Federal Retirement Pension for Federal Law Enforcement

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Ranking Member and Chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, reintroduced their Retirement Annuity Supplement Clarity Act, which addresses the way the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) calculates retirement annuity settlements for federal employees, primarily for federal law enforcement personnel, who have a settlement agreements dividing their annuity. Lankford and Sinema have continued to work directly with the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) to develop this legislative solution.

“Law enforcement officers are protecting us at the southern border and around the country and should be able to focus on their mission, not on bureaucratic decisions complicating their retirement calculations,” said Lankford. “Our commonsense proposal solves a long-standing discrepancy with how annuities are calculated for some of our law enforcement personnel and gives OPM maximum clarity for how Congress wants them to handle these payments. Senator Sinema and I are glad to empower OPM to consider a court’s explicit orders when divvying up annuity supplement payments for retirees’ settlement agreements, which ensures retirees and the courts decide how settlements go, not OPM.”

“Arizona’s federal law enforcement personnel work tirelessly to keep Arizonans safe and secure. We’re ensuring these brave officers receive the retirement benefits they have earned,” said Sinema.

“For the past six years, FLEOA has challenged OPM’s reinterpretation of the divisibility of an annuity supplement. OPM’s reinterpretation fundamentally altered annuity supplements and has threatened the financial security of retired federal law enforcement officers across this country,” said President Larry Cosme of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA). “FLEOA appreciates Senators Lankford and Sinema’s leadership in, once again, bringing forward this important legislation to help us restore the hard-earned retirement benefits of those who spent a career protecting and serving our nation.”

OPM currently divides annuity supplements the same as the basic annuity in a settlement agreement, regardless of the court order. The Retirement Annuity Supplement Clarity Act clarifies that OPM has the flexibility to follow a court order, if that order divides the annuity supplement. The bill repays annuitants who were retired on or before June 30, 2016, and entitled to an annuity supplement subject to a court order that was silent on division of the supplement, or expressly excluded the supplement from division; and whose annuity supplement was recomputed retroactively. Additionally, the bill clarifies that any collection of overpayments to former spouses due to this recalculation is waived.

OPM’s 2018 Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Report provides additional background on this issue facing federal annuitants.