Thompson, Kelly Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help First Responders Access Penalty Free Retirement Funds

Press Release

Posted: July 10, 2022

Washington – Today, Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Mike Kelly (PA-16) introduced the Protecting Public Safety Employees’ Timely Retirement Act of 2022, a bill to amend the federal tax code in order to allow first responders the ability to access their retirement funds penalty free upon reaching their eligible retirement age.

“First responders, firefighters, and other public safety employees protect our communities, often putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe,” said Thompson. “Over the last few years, firefighters in our communities have made incredible sacrifices combating the wildfires that we have experienced. Faced with this risk and increased stress, public safety employees deserve to be able to access their retirement savings the day they are eligible for retirement without penalty. I am proud to work with Rep. Kelly to introduce this bill to ensure law enforcement officers can access their retirement savings without any penalties when they decide to retire.”

“This legislation ensures that our local heroes can retire after decades of service to their communities,” said Kelly. “The goal here is to fix a problem in the tax code and to ensure that the government is working for our police officers, border patrol agents, and other law enforcement officials. I want to thank Rep. Thompson for joining me in this important bipartisan effort.”

"On behalf of over 7000 men and women who are on the Front lines fighting Fires here in California, we thank Congressman Mike Thompson for support of our Firefighters who risk their lives and health every day protecting the lives and homes of millions of Californians. We are in a severe drought and Congressman Thompson has been a champion for us and for all our citizens. He comes from a district that understands the dangers of wildfires and he has experienced firsthand the devastation caused, and the catastrophic impact on millions of people," said Tim Edwards, President of Cal Fire Local 2881.

“Federal law enforcement professionals dedicate their lives in service to their communities, their agencies, and the citizens of the United States of America.  Unfortunately, their professions often take the toll of a much shorter retirement than their non-law enforcement counterparts.  This piece of legislation honors their dedication by offering them the opportunity to retire, when eligible, without delay and early withdrawal penalties. The National Prison Council applauds Representative Thompson and Representative Kelly for their support of the federal law enforcement community by introducing the Protecting Public Safety Employees' Timely Retirement Act of 2022,” said Shane Fausey, National President of the Council of Prison Locals.

The tax code currently allows eligible law enforcement and public safety officers to withdraw from their retirement if they retire at or after the age of 50 due to the taxing nature of these jobs. However, federal officers are eligible for retirement prior to the age of 50 if they have completed 25 years of service. Under current law, when an officer retires prior to the age of 50 with 25 years of service, they are not allowed access to their retirement funds penalty free until the age of 59 ½, which is the age average Americans are able to withdraw from retirement accounts penalty free.