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 the benefit enhancement. However, when CBP realized their error – more than ten years after these officers had started their service – they rescinded these benefits and will now require at least 1352 officers, including 67 in Michigan, to meet additional requirements to receive the benefits they were initially promised when starting the job more than a decade ago. This has significantly impacted CBPOs’ ability to properly plan for their future and ensure they can retire comfortably with the benefits they expected. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as Chair.
“It is unacceptable that hardworking Customs and Border Protection officers have had their retirement plans disrupted due to a paperwork error that occurred almost 15 years ago. These officers – who put their lives on the line each and every day to ensure safe and efficient travel and trade across our borders – deserve better,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will ensure these employees get the benefits they were promised by Customs and Border Protection, and I will continue to urge my colleagues to quickly pass this important legislation.”
“I am proud to partner with Senator Peters on the CBPO Retirement Corrections Act. This legislation will help ensure that Customs and Border Protection officers receive the retirement benefits they were promised and deserve,” said Senator Hawley. “These officers help keep our nation safe every day and their service must be honored without being hampered by technical policy glitches that prevent them from planning for the future.”
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.