President Signs Connolly’s First Responder Fair RETIRE Act into Law
Legislation guarantees fair retirement for federal first responders injured on the job
Today, President Joe Biden signed into law the First Responder Fair RETIRE Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure federal firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other federal first responders qualify for full retirement benefits if they are injured on the job and return to the federal workforce. The House passed the legislation unanimously in July 2022, and the Senate passed it in November 2022. The legislation was introduced in the House by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI). Companion legislation in the Senate was introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT).
Given the hazardous nature the job required of Federal first responders, Congress created an accelerated retirement system for these positions and established a mandatory retirement age of 57. Referred to as “6c” for the section of the law in which this retirement system was established, federal first responders are entitled to an annuity after serving for 20 years and reaching age 50. They pay a greater percentage of their salary into their retirement system, and their annuity amount is calculated at a higher rate than other federal employees who make their payments over the course of 30 years.
“Our federal firefighters, Capitol Police officers, Secret Service agents, Customs and Border Protections Officers, and other federal law enforcement officials put their lives on the line every day for our fellow Americans,” said Connolly. “We have a responsibility to uphold our promise to those that are injured on the job and ensure their first responders’ benefits are fully protected. They shouldn’t be penalized, especially when they are still committed to public service.”
“I thank Senator Tester for his unwavering support in getting the First Responder Fair RETIRE Act across the finish line and President Biden for signing it into law,” Connolly continued. “Our bipartisan legislation will ensure federal firefighters, law enforcement officials, Border Patrol officers, and other federal first responders qualify for full retirement benefits if they are injured on the job.”
Rep. Connolly outlined the importance of the legislation in an OpEd for the Hill in October of 2021.
Full text of the legislation is available here.