How Long Does Former President Have Secret Service?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on January 11th, 2023

Are you curious about the security measures taken for former presidents? Did you know that ex-Presidents are entitled to Secret Service protection?


In this blog post, we’ll discuss the length of time former Presidents have access to Secret Service agents and what other security measures they may receive.

Close-up of a secret service agent listening to his earpiece, side.

The Original Act of Secret Service Protection

The Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012 reverses a previous law that limited Secret Service protection for former presidents and their families to 10 years after leaving office. This original act provided lifetime Secret Service protection for former presidents. This benefit was changed in 1994 when Congress limited the protection of future presidents to just 10 years after leaving office as a cost-cutting measure.

President Obama recently decided to reinstate lifetime Secret Service protection for former presidents in 2013. This decision resulted from requests from former President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who asked for their Secret Service detail to be extended beyond the ten-year limit.

Although the cost of providing lifetime protection is great, it is outweighed by the benefits that come with it. Extended Secret Service protection offers a sense of security for former presidents and their families and allows them to continue to live their lives with peace of mind.

Obama Signing Law to Restore Lifetime Protection

President Obama has signed a law restoring lifetime protection to former presidents and their families from the Secret Service, overturning a previous 10-year limit imposed by a bill signed in 1997. This bipartisan bill, S. 47, passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, and then by the House of Representatives, 286 to 138.

The bill also includes provisions to restore and strengthen important investments made on the grid, with $4.5 billion in Recovery Act funds allocated to the Department of Energy for this purpose. This law ensures that the Secret Service will provide lifetime protection to former presidents and their families, providing them with the security they deserve.

Clinton Administration Law of 10 Years

The Clinton Administration passed a law in 1994 that limited Secret Service protection for former presidents to only 10 years after leaving office as a cost-cutting measure. This was a drastic change from the lifetime protection from the Secret Service that had previously been granted. In 2013, President Obama signed a law that restored lifetime protection for former presidents, overturning the 10-year limit set by the Clinton Administration.

The Former Presidents Act also provides protection to the widows and minor children of former presidents for a period of 10 years after the former president’s death. This change in policy was a welcome relief to many ex-presidents who would otherwise have been left without adequate protection after their term in office ended.

Acceptance of Full Secret Service Protection

When a president leaves office, they can accept full Secret Service protection for the rest of their life. This protection is extended to them by the Former Presidents Act of 1958. Obama signed a law in 2013 to restore lifetime protection for all former presidents and first ladies. This was an act to recognize these individuals’ important role in our country and provide them with a sense of safety.

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Requesting Extended Protection

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush requested that the Secret Service protection be extended after their term ended. This was due to the increasing threat of violence and potential harm that could arise from the current political climate. Both presidents felt it was necessary to ensure their safety and that of their families and staff.

In response to their requests, President Obama signed a law in 2015 to restore lifetime Secret Service protection for former presidents. This allowed Presidents Clinton and Bush to receive extended protection beyond the 10-year limit established by the 1994 Congress vote. Thus, both former presidents could benefit from lifetime Secret Service protection and other benefits afforded by the Former Presidents Act of 1958.

Reasons for Extending Secret Service Protection

The reasons for extending Secret Service protection beyond the original provision vary from president to president. For some, it may be a sense of security and protection for their family; for others, it may be a concern for their safety.

Donald Trump acted in the interest of his family’s safety when he opted to extend Secret Service protection for his adult children in one of the final acts of his presidency. Understanding the gravity of the situation, he gave six months extra Secret Service protection to his kids, which cost taxpayers $1.7 million.

This is a legitimate reason for extending that protection, given the assassination of President William McKinley in 1902 resulted in Congress requesting Secret Service protection of U.S. presidents. The Secret Service has since been dedicated to protecting the President and their family, and Trump’s decision to add extra security was in the best interests of his children’s safety.

Additionally, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush requested extended protection after leaving office, citing concerns about their safety and the safety of their families.

Costs of Providing Lifetime Protection

It is important to consider the costs associated with lifetime Secret Service protection for former presidents. The Former Presidents Act provides a few cost-related benefits, such as free mail services, for the former president and their spouse.

Former presidents are provided with a number of benefits after leaving office, including a staff costing $96,000 a year and free mail costs for the surviving spouse. In addition, all former presidents and their spouses are eligible for lifetime Secret Service protection. Congress passed the Former Vice President Protection Act of 2008, which authorized Secret Service protection for former Vice Presidents.

Furthermore, former presidents are eligible for a $20,000 yearly pension for their widows. The Daily Beast obtained documents showing the former president’s federal security detail spent $788,286 on hotels and just under $550,000 on additional security costs. Alternatively, presidents who do not receive Secret Service protection instead receive “up to $1,000,000 for each former President and up to $500,000 for their surviving spouse.”

Benefits of Providing Lifetime Protection

The benefits of providing lifetime Secret Service protection for former presidents are manifold. Not only does it provide safety and security for the president and their family, but it also ensures that the public can continue to benefit from the presence of a former president in the public sphere.

Having a secure environment allows former presidents to remain active in politics, advocacy, and philanthropic work without worrying about their safety. Additionally, the presence of Secret Service agents gives a sense of security to any public appearances and events attended by the former president. This can be invaluable in preventing potential incidents or attacks against the former president.

Impact of Extended Secret Service Protection on Former Presidents

The extended Secret Service protection provided to former presidents and their families significantly impacts their lives. It provides them with peace of mind and allows them to continue to lead a normal life in the public eye without worrying about safety concerns.

Furthermore, it helps to ensure that the former president and his family can participate in public events, travel freely, and live their lives as they wish. This extended protection also provides an opportunity for former presidents to continue their work on behalf of the nation by providing support and advice to current leaders and offering public service initiatives.

In addition, it helps to preserve the legacy of former presidents and remind future generations of their accomplishments and contributions to our nation.

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Editorial Staff

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