23 Jan 2021: Even after leaving White House, Trump gets these government-funded perks
Though he's just a private citizen now, he would still have access to certain government-funded perks as a former president. These benefits will be available to Trump even if the Senate convicts him in his impeachment trial.
Here are more details.
Fact: Former presidents, vice-presidents entitled to benefits under Former Presidents Act
In the US, former presidents and vice-presidents are usually granted several benefits, like a lifetime pension, security, and office expenses, among other things, as per the Former Presidents Act. So, as a former president, Trump is expected to have access to the same as well.
Pension: Entitled to a six-figure annual pension for life
Former US presidents are eligible for an annual pension of nearly $220,000 for life. They are entitled to a pension equal to the basic pay of the head of an executive department (Executive Level-I)—$219,000 per year as of 2020—which is taxable.
However, while he was in office, Trump reportedly donated his salary, so it is not clear whether he would accept this benefit.
Widow allowance: A monetary allowance for the widows of ex-presidents
Separately, the law provides a monetary allowance to the widows of former presidents. They are entitled to a monetary allowance of $20,000-100,000 per annum.
So, if Trump dies before his wife Melania, then she is eligible for the allowance, provided she doesn't remarry before turning 60 years old.
However, if the couple gets a divorce, then Melania wouldn't be entitled to this benefit.
Office expenses: Government helps former presidents set up office, pay staffers
Under the Former Presidents Act, the federal government helps former presidents set up their offices, paying for a suitable office space.
They are also eligible for an allowance of up to $150,000 a year to pay their office staff and bear related expenses for the first 30 months after leaving the White House. After 30 months, this amount is reduced to $96,000 per annum.
Secret Service Protection: Former presidents enjoy personal security protection by US Secret Service
Former presidents and their spouses are eligible for personal security protection by the United States Secret Service for life. Trump and Melania are entitled to the same, too.
However, one may also opt not to receive Secret Service protection. In such cases, the former presidents are instead given up to $1,000,000, while their spouses get $500,000 each fiscal year for security and travel-related expenses.
Transition allowances: Ex-presidents are also provided transition expenses
As per the Presidential Transition Act, former presidents and vice-presidents are provided transition funding toward the expenses of leaving office and other transition-related services. It covers expenses of office space, staff compensation, communication services, and printing/postage.
This is valid from 30 days before the date on which their term in office comes to an end, and for a period not exceeding seven months.
Also see: #FinancialBytes: Major changes to PPF rules you should know about
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