Dr. Anthony Fauci has been on the federal payroll for 55 years and currently has no plans to retire, but when he does, a new analysis of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director’s records shows he will get the largest pension in U.S. government history.
“Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com estimate Dr. Fauci’s annual retirement would exceed $350,000. Thereafter, his pension and benefits would continue to increase through annual cost-of-living adjustments. Fauci has 55 years of service as a federal employee,” reports Adam Andrzejewski, founder and president of the Illinois-based foundation that boasts of posting “every dime in real time” of government spending at all levels in the United States.
Fauci began his career at the National Institutes for Health in 1966, as part of an intramural research program known as the Yellow Berets. Then, after serving 18 months as chief resident at the New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center, Fauci went back to NIH as a top investigator. In 1984, Fauci was named director of the NIAID, his present job. The NIAID is part of NIH.
“For the second year in a row, Fauci was the most highly compensated federal employee and out-earned the president, four-star generals, and roughly 4.3 million of his colleagues. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Fauci earned $434,312 in 2020, the latest year available, up from $417,608 in 2019,” Andrzejewski said.
Pensions for federal employees who began working in civil service prior to 1984 are determined under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), which requires 30 years of service and at least age 55 in order to receive full retirement. Accumulate those service credits, and the pension equals 80 percent of the three highest-paid years on the payroll.
But the pot gets sweeter for employees who, like Fauci, stay in government long after they reach the 30-year mark. That’s because the formula for calculating the retiring worker’s monthly pension checks considers only the highest three years of salary, which are typically those immediately prior to leaving government.
OpenTheBooks.com based its calculations on data it obtained using a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in November with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers CSRS and other federal pension programs.
Andrzejewski told The Epoch Times in an email that government officials didn’t make it easy to obtain Fauci’s compensation data.
“NIAID would not respond to our request for comment, they stonewalled our FOIA request for basic employment docs, so we sued them and a federal judge already ordered production starting on Feb. 1, 2022,” he said in the email.
“We questioned his job description in conjunction with his 400 media events in 18 months, and we broke the story that Fauci received a permanent pay increase in 2004 precisely because he was supposed to prevent the next pandemic. No response to our Fauci pension investigation today or any other investigation that we’ve published in the national news.”
A spokesman for NIAID didn’t respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment on Fauci’s future pension by press time.
Fauci also would be eligible for an annual annuity payment from Uncle Sam.
“After serving 10 years, federal employees are eligible for ‘2 percent of [their] high-3 average salary for each year.’ Dr. Fauci has more than surpassed the 10-year-minimum work requirement, and if he retired last year, he could have drawn down at least an extra $8,344 a year (($1,251,545/3) x 2 percent = $8,344). If he leaves at the end of this month, that figure is likely closer to $8,575 a year in annuity payments, assuming his salary did not go down in 2021,” Andrzejewski said.
Fauci is the exception to the rule for government pensions due to his uncommonly long career, but federal retirement packages, like salaries and other perks of the civil service, are generous and funded mostly by taxpayers.
Employees who joined the federal government after 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a Reagan administration reform that combines investment income from an annuity, a thrift savings account, and Social Security benefits. Older federal retirees don’t get Social Security.
A January 2020 analysis of federal retirement programs by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) found the following results:
- In Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, 96 percent of current civilian federal employees were enrolled in FERS, which covers employees hired since 1984. Four percent were enrolled in CSRS, which covers only employees hired before 1984.
- In FY 2018, more than 2.6 million people received civil service annuity payments, including 2,132,713 employee annuitants and 514,266 survivor annuitants. Of these individuals, 67 percent received annuities earned under CSRS.
- About one-third of all federal employee annuitants and survivor annuitants reside in five states: California, Texas, Florida, Maryland, and Virginia.
- The average civilian federal employee who retired in FY 2016 was 61.5 years old and had completed 26.8 years of federal service.
- The average monthly annuity payment to workers who retired under CSRS in FY 2018 was $4,973. Workers who retired under FERS received an average monthly annuity of $1,834. Employees retiring under FERS had a shorter average length of service than those under CSRS. FERS annuities are supplemented by Social Security benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).
Based on the CRS data, the average CSRS pensioner receives just under $60,000 annually, while the average FERS pensioner gets an annuity worth $22,008 annually. The latter also receives Social Security and TSP income.