So what are the odds Santa will bring you a new model, $40,000 buyout option by Christmas?
The short answer is pretty good, provided (1) you work for the Department of Defense, and (2) you get an offer, and (3) you agree to take it on or before Sept. 30, 2018.
The new higher horsepower buyout is part of the Defense Authorization bill that has been in the works for months. House conferees agreed to accept the $40,000 voluntary separation incentive payment the Senate originally proposed. The new buyout, like the old $25,000 model, would be subject to deductions such as taxes, Social Security, etc. But even after deductions, it would be a major improvement over the Clinton-era buyouts that left most takers with around $17,000 (depending on their state and local taxes) after deductions.
The 1990s buyouts were first limited to Defense civilians. They were quickly extended to a dozen other agencies as part of the Clinton administration plan to reduce federal employment (by about 260,000 jobs) via buyouts, some reductions in force and moving some federal functions to the private sector.
It is possible, even likely, that the new-and-improved buyout package would be given to other agencies as part of a Donald Trump administration plan to downsize and reshape the federal bureaucracy.