WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) to ensure U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers (CBPOs) can receive the retirement benefits they were promised when starting their service has advanced in the Senate. The bill corrects a mistake where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) incorrectly informed newly hired CBPOs that they would be eligible for proportional annuity, which means they would not have to retire at a certain age or reach 20 years of service to qualify for an enhanced retirement benefit. However, when CBP realized their error – more than ten years after these officers had started their service – they rescinded these benefits and will now require around 1200 officers, including approximately 70 in Michigan, to meet additional requirements to receive the benefits they were initially promised when starting the job. This has significantly impacted CBPOs’ ability to properly plan for their futures and ensure they can retire comfortably with the benefits they expected. The legislation was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as Chair. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
“Dedicated Customs and Border Protection officers, who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, should not have their retirements disrupted by a clerical error,” said Senator Peters. “By fixing this decade-old mistake, this bipartisan bill will ensure these dedicated professionals receive the retirement benefits they earned.”
“I am proud to partner with Senator Peters in reintroducing the CBPO Retirement Corrections Act. Customs and Border Protection officers defend our nation’s borders every day, and they deserve a secure financial future,” said Senator Hawley. “This bill guarantees that officers receive the retirement benefits they were promised.”
The CPBO Retirement Corrections Act would direct CBP to identify eligible individuals and notify them of the correction. Those impacted would then be eligible for a correction that would align their retirement benefits with the coverage they were promised. The legislation also includes a retroactive annuity adjustment for eligible individuals who retire before the date of enactment of this bill and grants the Department of Homeland Security the authority to waive maximum entry age requirements for eligible officers.