President and Congress Full Salaries for Life?

Does Congress and the President get full Salary for Life? Is the Average Soldier Salary and Social Security Income that low?

This one is a combination of facts and false. Lets look at the numbers

Salary of Retired US Presidents

First is Salary of Retired US Presidents. The number listed isn’t even the salary of the current sitting president ($400,000) and I’m assuming it as intended to include the  $50,000 annual expense account the President receives. Regardless, then number is wrong about retirement as well, the current retirement for a President is $191,300. [1][2]

Congressional Salary

The congress number are correct for currently elected congressman, but not for retired congress. [3]

The pension amount is determined by a formula that takes into account the years served and the average pay for the top three years in terms of payment. For example, a member of Congress who worked for 22 years and had a top three-year average salary of $153,900 would be eligible for a pension payment of $84,645 per year. The pension is also hard capped at 80% of salary (currently $139,200) A pension is available to Members 62 years of age with 5 years of service; 50 years or older with 20 years of service; or 25 years of service at any age. [4]

Deployed Soldier Salary

Deployed Salary Soldier is a difficult one to calculate since it can vary widely depending on rank, length of service, and whether or not you have dependents. For this part I am going to use enlisted service and not officer status only. Also for the BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) I used Concord, NH since it’s close to where I live, and I don’t know if deployed soldiers without benefits receive the BAH so I’ve included calculations with both, if you know the answer to this, leave it in the comments.  Since the picture says the average salary of a deployed soldier, the average salary if BAH is not given to soldiers without dependents is $47,389 and if they do receive BAH it’s $54,507, both of these are larger than the given $38,000. Another thing to consider is that a deployed soldier pays no Federal Income Tax (or State depending on the state) when deployed.  [5][6]

SalaryE1 NewE1 New w/BAHE6 6 years w/ Dep
Salary (yearly)$18,378$18,378$35,578.80
BAH (per month)0$1,203$1,605
BAS (per month)$357.55$357.55$357.55
FSA (per month)00$250
HDP (per month)$150$150$215
HFP/IDP (per month)$225$225$225
Monthly (total extra per month)732.551935.55$2,653
X12 (total of extras yearly)8790.623226.6$31,830.60
Total (including all bonuses)$27,169$41,605$67,409.40

Social Security Income

The social security numbers are the closest to correct, with 2014 averages being about $15,528.  [7]


[1] 3 U.S. Code § 102 – Compensation of the President
[2] Former Presidents Act of 1958
[3] Congressional Salaries and Allowances
[4] Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress
[5] Army Base Pay and Basic Pay Chart
[6] Military Allowances: Army Pay and Allowances
[7] Monthly Statistical Snapshot 

This Posts sponsored book, is a book about the US Debt:

Updated: August 18, 2018 — 3:46 pm


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  1. your way off on the military totals. Your first line “Salary” what the hell is that? We don’t get a Salary in the military. And if we did it would surely very from E1 to E6. Also BAS is not payed unless meals are not provided witch they are in a deployment. Plus you only qualify for Hazard Duty Pay or HDP when you are in a combat zone, and all of the country of Afghanistan is not so if you don’t go out on mission for x many hours you don’t get HDP. HFP/IDP only apply to special troops not everyone over there. Is the rest of your info this skewed?

    1. Salary is defined as a fixed income, you don’t get an hourly rate right? then you get salary. I included 3 different scenarios to show how much the pay can vary. Also according to the IRS and the Military Times website, Afghanistan has been a combat one since 2001, unless that has changes since March 2015 (and this article was written 3 years ago)

      The info is only as skewed as the sources, which are listed above. Thanks for more info though, I’ve been wrong before, and will be again, but if you have some better sources I can fix and update as I go.

      Also, according to the army website, which cash and benefits, typical soldiers make a lot more than listed here.

      1. I know what a salary is but it does not apply because you already list base pay which is the “salary” per say. As far as Combat zones you’re not getting the lingo. Yes Afghanistan is at war but the entire country is not one hugh zone of conflict. You’re being mislead. After Vietnam rules have changed. Being in country does not mean in combat any more. You have to be in a zone. Take my son he was in Iraq for a tour or two and while he was there he only received HDP when he left the safety of the camp and went on patrol in his Striker. Even though his camp got hit a couple of times with motor fire. It sucks but that’s the way it is. Talk to a vet and get the real shit, Check with a pay master. Anyone else is blowing smoke. And check on the number of troops below E4 with a family that were on food stamps, They don’t just let you get them in the military without proof of income. He was an E3 the whole time he was there I supported his wife and my grandson and knew what he made and being a vet I knew why he made what he made. BUT MOST OF ALL YOU DON’T GET A SALARY IN THE MILITARY YOU GET BASE PAY. It’s based on your rank, and years in service. They then add in extras if you deserve them. If you live outside military camp, base, post or ship then you get BAH Basic allowance for housing, If they can not provide you food you get basic allowance for subsistence or BAS if you are carrying live ammo and under fire from enemy forces the you get hazardous duty pay or HDP if you in some special unit or have some special type training then you receive special pay like; jump pay, hazardous flight pay (HFP) infantry combat duty (IDP) or say if your EOD you get EOD pay and so on, But unless your doing these things you don’t get the pay such as a tanker in a Striker on patrol he only get hazardous duty pay and only when performing said duty. THE BASE PAY IS PAID ONCE OF MONTH. IT IS YOUR MONTHLY PAY. IT IS IN YOUR LINGO YOUR SALARY. TAKE A LOOK AT A LES OR LEAVE AND EARNING STATEMENT. AND AS FAR AS MAKING MORE THAN YOU ESTIMATED SOMEONE IS BLOWING SUNSHINE UP YOUR NETHER PARTS. most likely it’s political I don’t know, As far as I can tell you spot on the congress stuff but then I’m an outsider and don’t know the inside of that place nor do you. I’m sure there are kickbacks and other benefits that far out way the retirement package the US gives them. And yea in the long run we do pay for that as well dearly.

        1. salary is a fixed regular payment, base pay is a a fixed regular payment, therefore salary = base pay

          1. Right. So why is it listed twice once as Salary and once as Base pay?

          2. I don’t see it listed twice?

          3. once as salary and once as monthly. Also why are you adding the E6 and E1. And how in the world did you get $8,000 plus as a over all monthly pay for an E1 that’s just bull. Please ask someone within the military like me. You are dreaming up these numbers. It would be awesome if E1’s made that they deserve it for sure. But an E3 with a wife and child can not live off base without food stamps and other support. To suggest that these brave men and women are making more then they do and any where near what a fat lazy congressman or president makes after ten or twenty years of service is shameful. I’m sorry but the average E1 during that time in country only made about 14,000 a year if he or she had dependents. If he was infantry he made more, 15,000 – if he was on Hazardous duty he may then as a E5 made close to or more than the amount you’re proposing. Use some logic how many 18 or even 20 year olds would have that kind of cash and not come out of the service set up for life. I made E5 in two years so if I joined at 18 by 20 I would be making 38,000 plus? I don’t know where you live but there are no jobs here that pay that much without years of experience or major super wierd luck. Not since a couple of years or so after this POS POTUS anyway.

          4. The columns aren’t being added together, as you can tell, since the numbers don’t add up. Apparently, you aren’t good at math. The column headings are shifted, as they should all be one column to the right, making each column the pay for a different grade. The bottom number is the total for that column which includes all compensation from each row. These are numbers right from the US Army’s web site, so I would think that they are accurate. Where did you get the $8,000 monthly figure from? None of the monthly numbers are anywhere near that high.

          5. Kurt that is $8790.60 per year, that is $732.55 per month for an E-1 slick sleever!

          6. I hope you don’t do any work that involves math, columns, or logic.

            At E-4, or corporal, soldiers earned $23,360 annually for less than two years of experience, $27,198 yearly for four years of experience and $28.357 per year at six years of experience.
            There were most likely an average rank of E4 in deployed war zones. The above site shows the average salary. It is no where near this guys articles Bullsh@t. Those volunteers that have lost there lives and limbs to serve this country and you and me don’t get payed one tenth of what they should be payed.

          8. According to the Army, the base pay for an E4 with 4 years experience is $27,936.00 and does not include bonuses, allowances and other benefits and an E5 with 4 years including those bonuses is $52,553 if he is single, and $54,378 if he has a family of four. An O4 with a family of four would be $92,808 and those are only including salary, housing, food, and tax advantages, it doesn’t include the Family Separation Bonus, the Active Duty Enlistment Bonus, Hardship Duty, Special Duty, etc…

          9. Look I used to be a Army Recruiter not everything you read about the pay is totally true. There are things that you have to have or do to qualify for any extra pay. And when you do it does not happen for a while.
            Bonuses are given for enlisting or reenlisting where the Army or other branches what you to. Mostly combat jobs. When you comply you do not get it all you get a small chunk then after a while some more till you have honored your deal.
            Separate rations are paid to the military person not being feed from the military. Not to his family.
            Being in a country that is full of terrorist but is a friendly country does not give you any special pay unless you are actively fighting for X amount of time over X amount of days for that mouth signed by your commander.
            If you family is on base in base housing you do not receive BAH.
            The average age of E-1’s in the military are 18 and don’t have wives or families of four.
            The average NCO or E5 and above tend to make the military a career of it and put themselves in harms way anytime they are asked to. They should be the most honored and well payed people in this country far above the teachers, sports aholes, and politicians elites.

  2. Retired presidents pay is set annually by Congress and is currently (in 2014) $$201,700 per year. For the first 7 months, beginning one month before the January 20 inauguration, former presidents get transition funding the help them transition back into private life. Granted under the Presidential Transition Act, the funds can be used for office space, staff compensation, communications services, and printing and postage associated with the transition. The amount provided is determined by Congress. Six months after a president leaves office, he or she gets funds for an office staff. During the first 30 months after the leaving office, the former president gets a maximum of $150,000 per year for this purpose. Under a law enacted in 1968, the GSA makes funds available to former presidents and no more than two of his or her staff members for travel and related expenses. With the enactment of the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 6620), on Jan. 10, 2013, former presidents and their spouses receive Secret Service protection for their lifetimes. Under the Act, protection for the spouses of former presidents terminates in the event of remarriage. Children of former presidents receive protection until they reach age 16. Former Presidents and their spouses, widows, and minor children are entitled to treatment in military hospitals. Former presidents and their dependants also have the option of enrolling in private health insurance plans at their own expense

    1. The yearly retirement salary changed from what is listed above in 2014, the article is written in 2013. Also the rest of those things aren’t salary. Sure they cost money towards retired presidents, but the meme says salary, and the article also doesn’t include all of the medical, post-retirement special benefits, etc for the other two example either.

  3. What is the point of adding the two columns? If you were looking for the avg. you need to divide that column by 2…

    1. I was trying to understand what you were talking about about adding, since nothing is added together in the way you think, then I realized the problem, likely all along, has been the table is screwed up. I don’t know if it happened when the site theme changed, but it looks like this article needs to be fixed.

    2. The columns aren’t being added together, as you can tell, since the numbers don’t add up. Apparently, you aren’t good at math. The column headings are shifted, as they should all be one column to the right, making each column the pay for a different grade. The bottom number is the total for that column which includes all compensation from each row.

  4. From the quoted source:

    3 U.S. Code § 102 – Compensation of the President
    The President shall receive in full for his services during the term for
    which he shall have been elected compensation in the aggregate amount
    of $400,000 a year, to be paid monthly, and in addition an expense
    allowance of $50,000 to assist in defraying expenses relating to or
    resulting from the discharge of his official duties.

    1. That’s what he said. So, what’s your point?

    2. “…during the term for which he shall have been elected”
      Click on the “Notes” tab, and read the section under
      Former Presidents; Allowance; Selection, Compensation, and Status of Office Staff; Office Space; Widow’s Allowance, Termination; “Former President” Defined.

  5. Excellent suggestions , Speaking of which if others are interested in a IRS 673 , my company saw a fillable version here

  6. The average rank of soldiers in war theater were E4
    BAS is short for Basic Allowance for Substance. When the Military cannot provide meals they pay you to buy your own. But if you are in a warzone or in the middle of no where they will provide you with meals not pay you for them.
    BAH is short for Basic Allowance for Housing, If the military cannot provide you with a roof they pay you to find one in the location you are in. We are not currently fighting in Concord, NH. Housing is much cheaper in Afghanistan. But for our troops in tents, bunkers, tin huts and prefab buildings no extra pay is given.
    HDP for location assignments (HDP-L) is payable to officers and enlisted personnel in a designated area for over 30 days and terminates upon permanent departure from the area. Hardship Duty Pay (Enlisted)

    Hardship Duty Pay Missions (HDP-M)
    HDP-M is paid for specific missions. It is payable to both officers and enlisted personnel of the active and reserve component, at the full monthly rate whenever any part of the month is served fulfilling a specific mission. A member assigned to, on temporary duty with or otherwise under the operational control of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA), or the Central Identification Lab-Hawaii (CIL-HI) may qualify for HDP-M based on performance of a hardship mission members so assigned are entitled for each month in which they perform investigative or remains recovery in a remote, isolated area (including, but not limited to, areas in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and North Korea) for recovery of U.S. service member remains.

    Hardship Duty Pay-Location
    HDP for location assignments (HDP-L) is payable to officers and enlisted personnel in a designated area for over 30 days and terminates upon permanent departure from the area. There are two types of HDP-L:

    HDP-L for designated areas (HDP-L(DA)
    HDP-L for certain places (HDP-L(CP); this was terminated December 31, 2001, and only serves as a savings provision for members who have never left those areas since termination.
    HDP-L became effective 1 Jan, 2001 and is compensation paid to members assigned outside the continental United States in Quality of Life (QoL) Hardship locations — Locations where QoL living conditions are substantially below the standard most members in the continental United States would generally experience. HDP-L is intended to recognize the extraordinary arduous living conditions, excessive physical hardship, and/or unhealthful conditions that exist in a location or assignment.

    HDP Rates:
    Rates are payable in increments of $50, $100, or $150 a month based on the level of QoL hardship in a given area.The combined maximum HDP-L and HDP-M payable is $300.00 per month. The individual maximum for HDP-M is payable at the flat rate of $150.00 per month and HDP-L is payable on a scale not to exceed $150.00 per month. If no specific cities are listed within a country, all locations in that country qualify for the pay. Regions with single rates

    Area ” Monthly rate in dollars: Afghanistan ” $100

    monthly base pay E4 2yrs serv. 2013 2,081.22
    HDP 100.00
    HFP/IDP 225.00
    2,406.22 total per month none married E4 deployed Afghanistan.
    28,874.64 per year as deployed.

    if a troop is married he will receive a partial BAH and Separation pay. But you are talking for a Corporal or equivalent not much altogether 500 dollars or so.
    This article is bogus and the chart is misleading and confusing.

  7. I see there is no allotment for hair coloring. Sad…they all seem to go gray and no compensation for that ‘Just For Men’ color thing eh?
    A person has all the stress of a president and gets about 400 grand per year…a do nothing POS CEO who screws Americans gets millions per year….what is wrong with this picture?

    1. What a ridiculous generalization.
      WHAT executive? WHAT CEO? Or are you just throwing around talking points?

      The POTUS is treated like a king for four years..maybe 8.
      He lives in a palace, and flies wherever he goes.
      He eats the finest meals on the planet, ..receives the finest gifts.

      Not to mention: A CEO actually has to perform and get positive results, or he is shitcanned.
      The POTUS is not held to that same standard.
      That’s what’s wrong with this picture.

      1. You will have us believe that the CEOS of the mortgage companies and banks that CRASHED our economy actually performed? They didn’t, and they DIDN’T get shitcanned. You need an education

    2. Another loser posting bilge from his doublewide.

    3. Did you forget about the millions spent on all the vacations?

    4. excellent point – the ceo’s have their own planes, are treated like kings by everyone, (the divine right of billionaires according to trump supporters) the eat the best food on the planet – no contaminated water for them, no fracking near their properties, very few ceo’s are held to any standard (remember the banking fiasco) and how many of the ceo’s are “shitcanned” But by the same token, the pols do very little – their staff do the heavy lifting. They take paid (by us) vacations wheneever they want to “inspect” something, often only work 120 days/year, the list is endless for the cons by both pols and ceo’s

  8. damn. i made $188 a month as an e-1 and $651 as an e-4 over 4. the current military is spoiled.

    1. It’s all relative to the cost of living now, not what it was when you served thirty years ago.

  9. seems like I remember getting 98 a month in 1968 then nixon froze all government employees wages

  10. Harry Lee Hedgecock

    You failed to mention that regardless of the amount figured by the formula, congress still gets it for life after serving only 1 term, and the military has to serve a minimum of 20 years to qualify. You also failed to mention that congress gets a golden parachute life & medical insurance for life, while the military gets to sit in line at the VA, like a welfare recipient at the free clinic. The fact that the Facebook post numbers are somewhat off is irrelevant, the point they were trying make is sound, and your article here in no way debunked that.

    1. It says right in the article:

      “A pension is available to Members 62 years of age with 5 years of service; 50 years or older with 20 years of service; or 25 years of service at any age.”

      1. Harry Lee Hedgecock

        Wrong it’s 62- after 5 years, 50- after 20 years- and any age after 25 years to receive a full pension. After 5 years they qualify for a partial pension. After 5 years, under 62 years old it’s just over 16k a year, and the amount of their partial pension goes up 1%-1.5% per year that they served past the 5th year, and that’s just the House, the Senate qualifies after 1 term, period. If you plan on correcting me, best get your facts straight, because I have.

        1. Sounds like you need to tell Congress that they are wrong, and you are right.

          1. Harry Lee Hedgecock

            All you did was regurgitate what I said in long form, you copy and pasted the bloated details of my summary from their website, whohoo you can work a computer. Your wall of textcrement changes nothing. FYI the house and senate have different rules. Nice try though…

          2. “After 5 years they qualify for a partial pension.”

            Where does it say this?

            “Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress”

            That means House and Senate. They don’t have separate rules. Obviously you can’t work a computer. Nice try though.

        2. According to the Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress documentation, there are 4 ways to get your pension.

          Retirement with an immediate, full pension is available to Members age 60 or
          over with 10 years of service in Congress, or age 62 with five years of civilian
          federal service, including service in Congress.

          Retirement with an immediate, reduced pension is available to Members ages
          55 to 59 with at least 30 years of service. It is also allowed if the Member
          separates for a reason other than resignation or expulsion after having

          Retirement with a deferred, full pension is available if the Member leaves
          Congress before reaching the minimum age required to receive an immediate,
          unreduced pension and delays receipt until reaching the age at which full
          benefits are paid. A full pension can be taken at age 62 if the Member had 5
          through nine years of federal service, or at age 60 if the Member had at least 10
          years of service in Congress. At the time of separation, the Member must leave
          all contributions in the plan in order to be eligible for the deferred pension.

          Retirement with a deferred, reduced pension is available to a Member at age
          50 if he or she retired before that age and had at least 20 years of federal service,
          including at least 10 years as a Member of Congress.

  11. It is a proven fact that politicians are in the game for money not public service. After all it does not come out of their pocket only the working class citizens support these cronies. I draw SSDI for bing legally blind and still pay income tax on less than $1000 monthly. I do not however that my bills are no less than the cronies only the income.

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