The CONTRACT Act was introduced to encourage more retired FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) air traffic controllers to be able to work at federal contract towers.
Air traffic controllers are forced to go into retirement by law once they are 56 years old. They also put in an extra .5% contribution to their FERS (Federal Employees’ Retirement System), their retirement annuity account. Under FERS, FAA controllers are categorized under a special group category.
Before they are eligible for Social Security Benefits, air traffic controller retirees get FERS annuity benefits from age 56 to 62. However, these payments are decreased if they receive more income than the earnings limit set for social security benefits. The earnings cap was $17,640 for this year.
This is a very big reason as to why man retired controllers do not continue to work in the field at federal contract towers.
The CONTRACT (Continuity for Operators with Necessary Training Required for ATC Contract Towers) Act of 2019 would remove this sanction to enable more of these retirees to work as a federal contract tower air traffic controller.