Under current law, former Presidents receive annual pensions that equal a Cabinet Secretary’s basic pay (about $211,000 in 2018); the annual pension for a President’s surviving spouse is set at $20,000. Current law also provides former Presidents with annual allowances to pay for staff, office space, and other related expenses.
S. 1791 would decrease former Presidents’ pensions to $200,000 per year but would increase the pension of a surviving spouse to $100,000. Both pensions would be indexed to inflation. For the first 10 years after leaving office, a former President would receive a $500,000 annual expense allowance (also indexed to inflation) that would be reduced by $1 for every dollar over $400,000 earned the year before; the allowance would eventually drop to $250,000 by the end of 10 years.