Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, January 20 – keeping up with a tradition that has been followed since the 1930s, despite coronavirus changing how celebrations usually look.
After he takes the Oath of Office, his term officially begins, granting him all the presidential powers – and all the presidential perks, too.
Though incumbent president Donald Trump is reportedly still insistent he won the election, it isn’t all bad news as presidents keep earning some enticing perks after leaving office – although his may be dependent on the results of his impeachment hearing.
Just what is a president paid, and what do former presidents continue to receive after they leave office?
Does a president get paid for life?
A president is paid for life and can receive benefits and packages that bring in millions each year after they’ve retired from office.
The Former Presidents Act of 1958 ensures that this is the case – and this was passed after President Truman left office and struggled with financial issues.
The act provides former presidents with a pension which begins immediately after a president leaves office – and this pension is equal to the same salary as a current member of the Presidential Cabinet.
In addition to a generous pension, former presidents receive funds for travel, office space, support staff – up to $150,000 (approx. £110,000) a year for the first 30 months and $96,000 (approx. £71,000) per year after this – and mailing costs.
Ex-presidents also receive seven months of transition services, covering the costs of winding down the outgoing administration and briefing the incoming administration.
Former presidents and their spouses also receive $1 million (approx. £735,000) worth of Secret Service protection for life.
The only exception is if a president is impeached.
If a president is officially impeached – something which Donald Trump faces after a history-making second impeachment hearing was passed to Senate – they lose most of their benefits.
This includes their pension, their Secret Service detail, allowances for personal staff and office space, healthcare allowances and the ability to run for public office again.
What does a president get paid?
While in office, the president receives a salary of $400,000 per year (around £295,000). This was increased from $200,000 (around £147,000) in 2001, with George W. Bush the first to receive the higher salary.
As well as their pay, a president will receive a $50,000 (approx. £37,000) expense account.
This was added by Congress in 1949 and covers a president’s personal expenses.
The First Family also don’t pay to live in the White House and receive $100,000 (approx. £74,000) to redecorate.
Other perks include free transportation in the presidential limousine, Marine One, and Air Force One and free healthcare.
Presidents who refused a salary
It is written in the Constitution that a President must receive a salary, however, they don’t have to keep it.
Four presidents have donated their salaries.
45th President Donald Trump donated his annual salary to various federal departments from 2017 to 2020.
Trump has a reported net worth of $2.5 billion (approx. £1.8 billion).
John F. Kennedy also donated his $100,000 (approx. £74,000) salary to charity back in 1961.
JFK was also from vast family wealth, so he also donated his salary during his time in Congress, preceding his presidency.
Herbert Hoover, who served in office between 1929 and 1933 – donated his salary to various charities.
George Washington was the first president to donate his salary, and the first US president in history.
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