Expert's View

What a year this is turning out to be. Employees are being held to an average 2 percent increase in pay, with .5 percentage points of that being allocated through locality pay adjustments. Benefits for children who have lost one or both parents are remaining at their current level. Retirees and survivors are looking at a zero cost-of-living adjustment in their annuities for this year and, probably, next year, too. The same goes for their Social Security benefits.

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So, what’s the good news? For employees, you’re getting something. For children, retirees and survivors, your benefits aren’t being cut, which they would be if it weren’t for the fact that under current law your benefits can’t be reduced. And, in one case, which I’ll talk about next week, your out-of-pocket costs won’t be increased.

 

While you are busy bemoaning your current situation, I thought it would be a good idea for you to count the offsetting blessings that you received over the past five years. Let’s start with pay. The numbers represent the range of pay received in total raises, counting locality pay.

 

2005 3.26 to 4.30

2006 2.25 to 5.62

2007 1.81 to 3.02

2008 2.99 to 4.49

2009 3.52 to 4.78

 

And as for you retirees and survivors, warm your hands on these numbers;

 

CSRS        FERS

2005 2.7   2.0

2006 4.1   3.1

2007 3.3   2.3

2008 2.3   2.0

2009 5.8   4.8

 

While the above may look like cold comfort, just remember that those of you are employed have a job while others don’t. And those of you who are on the annuity roll can’t be removed from it.