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Broken Promises

Page Information Updated: Sunday, 15 March 2020

Congress enacted 5 U.S. Code (U.S.C.) 8336.6(c) retirement benefits for federal law enforcements and fire fighters due to the hazardous nature of the occupation. When an employee in one of these positions is injured on the job and no longer able to perform the duties of their position, they may be placed in a non-6c covered position. When this happens they lose their 6c retirement system, they lose the additional contributions they’ve made to the 6c system, and they are moved from a 20 year length of service retirement path to a 30 year length of service retirement path – the last after the Forest Service has already broken them.

In 2016, your Union brought this issue to the attention of Congress. The NFFE-Forest Service Council will be back in the halls of Congress again in May 2018, to continue the fight to fix this injustice.

This kind of ongoing engagement can be the difference between things getting done and things languishing on the back burner. It pays to have a union on your side. It pays to have union representatives in Washington, DC. This is just one example what your dues pay for. If you are a dues-paying member, thank you for your support. If not, please consider joining today to support this kind of work.


  • May 2018 – Twelve Forest Service Council representatives will be on Capitol Hill advocating for their fellow Forest Service co-workers on a number of topics, including the First Responder Fair RETIRE Act.
  • March 15, 2018 - HR 3303 is marked up by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee
  • March 14, 2018 - The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) sends a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC 04) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (MD 07) in support of The First Responder Fair RETIRE Act, H.R. 3303.
  • NFFE News Release July 24, 2017 – "Forest Service Council Grabs Bipartisan Support for Injured First Responders"
  • July 19, 2017, saw the introduction of HR 3303, the First Responder Fair RETIRE Act, as a companion bill to S 29, the Fair RETIRE Act, in the Senate. The bill was introduced by Rep Gerry Connolly (VA-11), with Rep Peter King (NY-02) and Rep Jim Langevin (RI-02) as original co-sponsors. The bill is intended:
    • To permit disabled law enforcement officers, customs and border protection officers, firefighters, air traffic controllers, nuclear materials couriers, members of the Capitol Police, members of the Supreme Court Police, employees of the Central Intelligence Agency performing intelligence activities abroad or having specialized security requirements, and diplomatic security special agents of the Department of State to receive retirement benefits in the same manner as if they had not been disabled. NOTE: a link to the bill will be posted as soon as it is available.
  • May 2017 – Eleven Forest Service Council representatives made visits to 104 Congressional offices to urge support for S 29, and to find support for a companion bill in the House.
  • January 5, 2017 – The Federal Law Enforcement Officer Association (FLEOA) sends a letter to Senator Jon Tester (MT) in support of the Fair RETIRE Act, S. 29.
  • On January 4, 2017, Senator Jon Tester (MT) introduced S 29, the Fair RETIRE Act, with Susan Collins (ME) as an original co-sponsor, to address these inequities. This bill would fix these problems by:
    • Allowing an ill/injured employee to stay in the "6c" retirement system if put into a position outside the "6C" retirement system (the employee would continue to make the higher contributions to the system)
    • Allowing an injured on the job employee to receive a refund of their accelerated contributions should they be separated from service before they are entitled to an annuity.

Your FSC representatives have asked Congress to redeem the commitment to these employees. See our 2018 briefing paper.

What You Can Do

  • Stay tuned for actions you can take to further this legislative effort. As a citizen of the United States, you have the right to contact your congressional representatives to let them know how you feel about various pending legislation; whether you would like them to support or oppose.
  • Visit House.gov or Senate.gov to find the contact information and location of your representatives' offices.
  • Call or visit, on your own time and with your own equipment, and let them know you want them to co-sponsor S 29 and HR 3303.