FEDweek

Retirement COLA of 0.3 Percent in January Set

Retirement money in a jar

A federal retirement COLA of 0.3 percent will be paid in January, following completion of the count toward that adjustment with release of the September inflation figures. Those retired under CSRS or CSRS Offset receive a COLA regardless of age; those retired under FERS don’t receive COLAs until age 62 unless they retired on disability or under the special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers, firefighters or air traffic controllers. Also, survivor beneficiaries under each system receive COLAs regardless of age. Due to the small size of the COLA, a provision potentially limiting the adjustment for eligible FERS retirees does not apply. The same 0.3 percent increase applies to Social Security benefits. That’s primarily of interest to FERS retirees, for whom Social Security is a basic part of the retirement benefit, but also of interest to CSRS Offset retirees who have Social Security coverage as part of their benefit. Also, some “pure” CSRS retirees qualify for Social Security through from military service or earnings covered under that system before, after—and in some cases on a moonlighting basis, during—their CSRS working years. In many cases those benefits are reduced by the “windfall elimination provision” however.