Obama Set to Receive Presidential Retirement Benefits

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. lifetime / ˈlaɪfˌtaɪm / (adj) – lasting for the rest of a person’s life

    Most government officials receive various lifetime benefits.

  2. term / tɜrm / (n) – the period in which an official is appointed to serve

    The governor’s first term is going to end next month.

  3. extend / ɪkˈstɛnd / (v) – to offer something

    The program extends health care services to senior citizens.

  4. transition / trænˈzɪʃ ən / (n) – a period of change

    The employees experienced a difficult transition when the new owners took over the company.

  5. entitled / ɛnˈtaɪtld / (adj) – having the right over something

    All citizens are entitled to choose their leaders.


Read the text below.

Former US president Barrack Obama has received a lifetime government pension and a variety of benefits after his presidential term ended.

Obama, the 44th president of the United States, concluded his second and final term on January 20, 2017. Upon the end of his term, Obama received privileges granted to all former US presidents.

The Former Presidents Act is a law that extends certain benefits to former presidents. One of the major benefits included is the annual pension of $205,700. By law, the amount that the former president receives is equivalent to the salary of Cabinet Secretaries.  In addition, the government will provide lifetime Secret Service protection to the former president and first lady.

To assist Obama and his family in adjusting to a private life, he will receive transition funds during the first seven months after leaving office. Like previous commanders-in-chief, he will receive financial assistance for any travel that is associated with his position as a former US president. According to the Former Presidents Act, he is also entitled to health care benefits, as well as staff and office allowances.

The Former Presidents Act was implemented by the US Congress in 1958. The action was largely influenced by former president Harry Truman’s experience after leaving the office. The former president experienced financial difficulties after his term ended in 1953.

In addition to the benefits he will receive from the Former Presidents Act, Obama will also reportedly receive a pension of $383,535 from the Illinois /ˌɪl əˈnɔɪ / government for his service as a state lawmaker for eight years.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think it is necessary to provide benefits to former presidents? Why or why not?
• If you were a lawmaker, would you make any changes in the benefits included in the Former Presidents Act? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Aside from government leaders, who else deserves to receive government benefits?
• What are the factors to consider when giving benefits?