Barack Obama is approaching his final day as President, at which point he'll turn over the White House to Donald Trump.
Thanks to the Former Presidents Act (FPA), a 1958 federal law that provides lifetime benefits to former presidents of the United States, Obama will be in good hands once he's "retired."
Among some of the benefits, Obama will receive a taxable pension of $203,700 per year from the Secretary of the Treasury. This number isn't fixed; rather, it matches the current salary of Cabinet members, or Executive Level I personnel.
Prior to 1958, the U.S. federal government provided no pension – or any benefits at all – to U.S. presidents that left office. In 1912, steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie offered a $25,000 annual pension, but congressmen questioned the idea of a private pension like that. However, Carnegie's offer prompted legislation that provides benefits to former presidents. By 1958, only two former Chief Executives were still alive: Herbert Hoover and Harry S. Truman. The first active president to fall under the act was Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In addition to his annual pension, Obama will join other former presidents in receiving benefits. Funding for the expenses of leaving his office is available for seven months. This funding covers office space, staff compensation, communications services, and printing and postage associated with the transition.
Obama is also entitled to medical treatment in military hospitals. The rate they pay is set by the Office of Management and Budget. Since he served two terms, he's eligible to buy health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
His staff will receive a pension, too. The Administrator of the General Services Administration provides funding to private office staff. Each former president gets to set basic rates of compensation for their staff – at most, staff can receive an annualized total of $150,000 for the first two and a half years and no more than $96,000 after 30 months.
Initially, the original act provided lifetime Secret Service protection for former presidents. In 1997, it was reduced to 10 years for presidents taking office after that year. Lifetime Secret Service is a pretty good deal, so that amendment was reverted by the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012. Now, all living former presidents and their spouses can once again receive Secret Service protection for life.
Interestingly, the only president to relinquish his Secret Service protection is the only president who has resigned from office: Richard Nixon, who gave up his protection in 1985.
Obama is sure to enjoy his last few days as our Commander in Chief. But when he leaves the White House, he'll have a handful of benefits to look forward to.