How Pensions For US Presidents Have Changed — And Could Change

How Pensions For US Presidents Have Changed — And Could Change
Lawmakers say they plan to reintroduce a bill to further limit presidential pensions. Barack Obama struck down the bill while in office.

It's hard to take a 9-to-5 job after you've been the president of the United States. So after leaving the White House, all former presidents receive money annually from the government.

In 2016, then-President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would've reduced that total if a former president's outside income equals $400,000 or more.

But now that Obama is reportedly getting paid that very amount to speak on Wall Street, lawmakers tell USA Today they plan to reintroduce the bill.

So how much does the government pay former commanders in chief?

The Former Presidents Act sets the yearly presidential pension equal to a Cabinet secretary's salary, which is currently set at $207,800.

Former presidents also get lifetime Secret Service protection and monetary allowances for things like travel, office space and staff salaries.

Those allowances differ from person to person, but more recent former presidents tend to get more money. For example in 2015, George W. Bush's entire retirement package totaled almost $1.1 million, while Jimmy Carter's was just $430,000.

They can thank former President Harry Truman for those pensions.

After leaving the White House, Truman's finances were very modest. And partly in response to his financial situation, his successor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed the Former Presidents Act in 1958.

But Truman never got any money from the legislation. Eisenhower was the first to benefit from its provisions.