By MIke Lillis - 06/17/11 03:50 PM EDT
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) remains eligible for a sizable federal pension despite his resignation from Congress, according to a tax watchdog group.
Weiner could receive almost $1.3 million in taxpayer funds over his lifetime, depending on his contributions to the voluntary program and when he chooses to draw down his pension benefits, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) reported.
Reeling from a virtual-sex scandal and pressured by fellow Democrats to resign, Weiner announced Thursday that he'll do just that. The New York Democrat is in his seventh term representing Brooklyn and Queens, but also worked as a staffer to then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) between 1985 and 1991.
Under federal pension rules, Weiner could begin drawing down reduced benefits 10 years from now, when he turns 56. Under that scenario, he could collect up to $32,357 annually, totaling $1.12 million over his lifetime, NTU estimates.
If he opts to take the full pension — which kicks in at age 62 — he could receive $46,224 each year, totaling $1.28 million over his lifetime, NTU found.
Weiner will not qualify for lifetime healthcare benefits through the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan, NTU reported, because lawmakers must currently be receiving a pension to do so.
Weiner may continue to receive health benefits through the federal program at his own expense for up to 18 months.