Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: John McCain would not be eligible to draw a pension after serving two terms as president.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2008]
Origins: We're not sure whether the above-quoted bit of electioneering about presidential pensions was meant to be taken seriously, or whether it was intended to be light-hearted or sardonic, but regardless its basic premise is incorrect.
It is true in broad terms that since John McCain is twenty-five years older than Barack Obama (they'll be 72 and
Under the terms of the Former Presidents Act (FPA), former presidents are entitled to "a taxable pension that is equal to the annual rate of basic pay for the head of an executive department" (currently $191,300). This pension is a lifetime benefit that begins "immediately upon a President's departure from office at noon on Inauguration Day." (Presidential widows receive lifetime pensions of $20,000 per year.)
In fact, pensions constitute a relatively small fraction of the federal funds that are provided for the maintenance of former presidents, who also receive Secret Service protection, free mailing privileges, travel funds, and allowances to maintain and staff their offices. (Secret Service protection for presidents who began serving after
All of these expenditures on former presidents are but a drop in the bucket of the overall
Since both John McCain and Barack Obama are members of the
Last updated: 14 August 2008
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.