Although members of Congress and other key federal officials don’t have to make their tax returns public, the public can glean plenty of information from the personal financial disclosures they’re required to file every year, per the Ethics in Government Act — disclosures that include income such as Social Security.
As Open Secrets noted, there are shortcomings to disclosure rules, including the exclusion of retirement accounts from federal government employment. However, even without access to the full financial particulars of high-ranking politicians, we can assume that the wealthiest among them max out their Social Security benefits when and if they choose to receive them.
How Much Does Senator Joe Manchin Receive in Social Security Benefits?
Senators like Manchin make a good living and often have generous retirement benefits as a result. In addition to a rewarding salary, U.S. representatives and senators receive lifetime pensions and a taxpayer-matched savings plan with contributions of up to 5% of salary after they retire, per Forbes.
And like the great majority of U.S. workers, senators — as well as members of the House of Representatives, the president and vice president, federal judges and other federal government officials and employees — are covered by the Social Security program. The Social Security Administration allows recipients to claim benefits if even if they continue working after they reach full retirement age.
Manchin’s latest personal financial disclosures include pension earnings from the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System and retirement income (IRA required minimum distributions) from the National Financial Services LLC, but no Social Security unearned income.
The 76-year-old Manchin currently makes $174,000 per year, the same salary that other senators make (and have been making since 2009). Additionally, Manchin’s wife, Gayle, makes nearly $170,000 a year through her position running the Appalachian Regional Commission, according to Open the Books.
Manchin’s total assets are estimated at around $8 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. That estimate is consistent with a 2018 estimate from Open Secrets that calculated Manchin’s net worth to be $7,623,534. His fortune comes from earning a competitive government salary over the years as a U.S. senator, the governor of West Virginia and the secretary of state of West Virginia, as well as from his years spent as the president of Enersystems, a waste coal brokerage firm he founded in 1988.
“In 2020 alone, Manchin raked in nearly $500,000 of income from Enersystems, and he owns as much as $5m worth of stock in the company,” The Guardian reported. The smallest dividend income Manchin has received from Enersystems since he joined the Senate is $243,663, in 2015, according to Salon. He earned between $1,000,001 and $5 million in Enersystems dividends last year, his 2023 disclosure revealed.
What you won’t find in Manchin’s disclosure is income from Social Security retirement benefits. He, like many wealthy individuals, apparently has not filed for benefits.
Had he filed, the independent-minded Manchin would receive the maximum monthly benefit of $4,555 in 2023 if he had earned the maximum amount taxed for Social Security each year of his highest-earning 35 years. Because Manchin makes more than the Social Security maximum of $160,200 this year, the Social Security withheld from his paycheck also would have been the maximum amount: $9,932.
Should Manchin unexpectedly retire this year, he’ll receive $54,660 in benefits starting in 2024, if he chooses to claim Social Security.
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