Page images
PDF
EPUB

And, of course, there are federal judges who in the past and at present, as former Members of Congress and Civil Service employees, are drawing annuities. There are survivors who are also drawing benefits from the Fund. As I read both bills, those judges now drawing annuities will be prohibited from receiving them if the bills are enacted as presently drawn. I would certainly hope that there is no thought to bar the continuation of annuities now being paid to surviving widows.

One further personal reference: I have spent almost all of my adult life in public service. I did not practice law while I was a Member of Congress. During the short time I did engage in the private practice of the law, the law did not provide for my participation in the Social Security Program.

Federal Judges who did have the opportunity before they were appointed to the bench to participate in the Social Security Program are eligible as senior or retired judges to receive Social Security payments and are eligible for Medicare. I am not.

Except for a small savings account, government savings bonds, and an equity in our home, Mrs. Thornberry and I have relied on our contributions made during my Congressional Service to the Civil Service Retirement Fund as our major investment.

As you can well understand—I hope I do not regard the proposed legislation as fair or equitable. I firmly believe that it proposes to deprive me of contractual rights vested in me by the laws of this nation as a result of the contributions I have made to the Civil Service Retirement Fund.

May I strongly urge this Committee if it feels that some legislation is necessary, that it provide that such legislation be made prospective so that any Member of Congress or Civil Service employee of the government will be put on notice that by accepting an appointment as federal judge he will be deprived by his government of any benefits from a Retirement Fund in which over the years he has made payments. As a Member of Congress I have never had such a notice. On the contrary, as I have tried to point out, I have received every assurance that I would be entitled to an annuity at the appropriate time as provided by law. Thank you. [The attachments to the prepared statement follow:]

Post OFFICE AND CIVIL SERVICE COMMITTEE,

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

November 22, 1963. Memorandum.

DEAR JUDGE THORNBERRY: As mentioned the other day, I took the liberty of checking with the Civil Service Commission and the attached memo is forwarded for your records in case you do not already have the data.

CHARLIE JOHNSON.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Assuming Congressman Thornberry terminates his service as a Member of
Congress at the close of this session (January 2, 1964) or term,
(January 2, 1965) we find that his Federal service will be as follows:

[blocks in formation]

Decause he will not meet the age and service requirements of the Retirement Act for an imediate annuity on either January 2, 1964 or January 2, 1965, the only benefit to which he will be entitled will be a deferred annuity commencing on his 60th birthday.

Assuming his appointment as a "Judge of the United States" is as defined
in 28 USC 451, Mr. Thornberry can apply for civil service annuity at age
60 and we will suspend the benefit until he "retires" under the judicial
retirement provisions or otherwise separates from his office as judge.
Ev filing for the civil service benefit at age 60 he would protect the
survivor annuity election for his wife to whom he was married at time of
retirement. Otherwise, should his death occur after separation as a
Beinber of Congress but before application for annuity is filed, a sur-
vivor anmuity benefit would be payable to his widow only if she were
married to him on the date of his separation as a Member.
We have made a tentative computation of the benefit payable when Mr.
Thornberry reaches age 60. The rates are:

I. 'Separation as of Jamary 2, 1964 .

[blocks in formation]

If I can furnish further information, do not hesitate to contact me.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

This is the reply proinised you on February 14 in the interest of the Honorable Homer Thornberry, regarding his right under the Civil Ser. vice Retirement Lew.

Judge Thornberry terminated his service as a Member on December 20, 1963. His military and civilian service totals 18 years, 6 months, 13 days. As pointed out in prior correspondence, the only annuity benefit payable 18 one effective from January 9, 1969, the Judge's 60th birthday.

assuring his appointment as a "Judge of the United States" is as de. fined in 28 USC 451, Judge Thornberry can apply for civil service annuity now and we will suspend payment for the benefit until he "retires" under the judicial retirement provisions or otherwise se-, parates from his office as judge. If his death should occur prior to his filing for annuity and he 18 survived by his present wife, she will be entitled to survivor annuity.

Tentative monthly annuity rates payable on total service in this case

are:

Life rate, effective January 9, 1969.....

Increased 3.9% effective March 1, 1969...

$867
$901

Reduced with Benefit to Widow
To annuitant........

$803
Increased 3.9% effective March 1, 1969.

$834 To Widow....

$477 Increased 3.9% effective March 1, 1969.....

$496 Tentative monthly annuity rates payable without credit for military service are:

$699
$726

Life rate, effective January 9, 1969...
Increased 3.9% effective March 1, 1969

Reduced with Benefit to Widow

To annuitant,.....
Increased 3.9% effective March 1, 1969.
To Widow......
Increased 3.9% effective March 1, 1969.

$652 $677 $385 $400

If I can furnish further information, do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew E. Ruddock
Director

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

cl

Honorable Homer Thornberry
United States Circuit Judge
United States Courthouse
Austin, Texas 78701

( EXHIBIT.
Dear Judge Thornberry:
Prarther reference is made to your letter of January 9, 1969, with
regard to whether it is to your advantage to apply for Civil Service
annuity at this time or to defer application to some future date.

The Civil Service Commission informed us that you can apply for
Civil Service annuity now and benefit payment will be suspended until
your "judicial retirement" or separation otherwise as a judge. How-
ever, if your death should occur before filing for annuity and your
present wife survives you, she will be entitled to Civil Service sur-
vivor annuity. A copy of the letter from the Commission dated March 10,
1969, concerning your rights under the Civil Service Retirement Law,
is enclosed for your information.

Accordingly, we have calculated the annuity payable to your widow under the Judicial Survivors Annuity System under various circumstances should your death occur on certain given dates. The enclosed table reflects a comparison of your widow's tentative annuity rates on the basis of your service specified under the Judicial Survivors Annuity System and the Civil Service Retirement System, as well as the conbined annuity benefits when applicable.

Based on the current provisions of law, a comparison of the annuity
'rates indicates your widow would receive the largest possible sum

through the use of all of your service under the Judicial Survivors
---Annuity System, at least until June 7, 1975.

It would not seem advantageous for you to apply for Civil Șervice annuity at this time in order to afford your widow maximum annuity benefits. Since you may defer applying for anmuity and your present wife will be entitled to survivor annuity in the event your death should occur before filing for annuity, it would appear reasonable to delay applying for Civil Service annuity until payment for such benefit can actually be made to you. You may then wish to reevaluate the benefits under the Judicial Survivors Annuity System, especially in connection with the use of your military service in computing your widow's annuity.

With kind regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

Danstein

Enclosure

[blocks in formation]

I have a copy of your letter, dated February 10, 1976, to
The Honorable Homer Thornberry, Circuit Judge, Austin, Texas,
with reference to proposed legislation that would deny Civil
Service Retirement Annuity payments to a former member of
Congress who is entitled to receive salary as a justice or
judge of the United States, even though all the requirements
under the Congressional Retirement Act have been met and the
entitlements have been vested as a right to the annuitant.

As you know, I served as a member of the House of Representatives for a continuous period of 25 years and 1 month. I participated in and contributed to the Congressional Retirement Program during the entire time. At the outset, I paid into the fund the required sum to get credit for service commencing January 3, 1941.

On resigning as a member of Congress, February 2, 1966, to accept
the nomination and confirmation of an United States District
Judge for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, I made
an inquiry of the Civil Service Commission as to my status with
the Congressional Retirement Act. I was advised and furnished
documentary information that my application for entitlement to
annuity as a retired employee would be granted but the annuity
payment would be deferred until I had met the requirements of
the Judicial Retirement Act by attaining the age of 70 years or
more and serving as District Judge 10 years or more. I received
a Certificate from the Civil Service Commission that my applica-
tion for retirement had been approved. I received a letter from
Mr. George A. Babel, Chief of Section, Bureau of Retirement and
Insurance, dated February 18, 1966 that pursuant to law they
would discontinue payment of annuity until my separation by
retirement.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »