According to a report from Investopedia, former President Harry Truman left the White House unprotected by the Secret Service and with no support from the federal government besides an army pension of $112.56. He was known to have taken out a loan in his last weeks as president.
The financial difficulties Truman faced prompted the passage of the Former President’s Act in 1958. The Act authorized the General Services Administration to provide former presidents with a pension, support staff, office space, and travel funds. They also receive a lifetime of Secret Service protection and their children remain protected until they are 16 years old. According to Investopedia, the pension for former presidents matches the annual pay for senior political officials of the Executive Level 1 ranking. In 2016, this figure is $205,700. Widows of ex-presidents are entitled to $20,000 a year.
Last year, the federal government spent a total of $3.25 million on the four former presidents still living. Pensions were the second highest category of federal benefits to former presidents in 2015, with the first being “office space.”
But do former presidents still need this help? The article notes that according to Politico, George W Bush gave 200 paid speeches from 2009 to 2015 and charged between $100,000 and $175,000 for each. CNN reported that the Clintons raked in more than $150 million for paid speeches from 2001 to early 2015.The article, including a chart of what was paid to former presidents in fiscal year 2015, is here.