Among bills recently introduced in Congress is HR-4315, which would change the inflation index used in setting COLAs in federal retirement, Social Security and other retirement programs to a measure reflecting spending patterns of retirees.
The “consumer price index for the elderly”—the CPI-E—has been calculated for many years but has not been used for adjusting benefits despite arguments from the NARFE organization and other retiree advocates that it more accurately reflects higher spending by older persons in areas such as health care. The CPI-E has indicated figures averaging about a quarter of a percentage point per year above the current measure.
Also offered recently was HR-4396, to bar SSA employees from receiving continued federal retirement benefits if they are convicted of a felony as it relates to their official job duties. Sponsors cited recent cases of fraud or identity theft involving SSA employees, who remain eligible for retirement benefits.
In general, earned federal retirement benefits may be denied only after criminal convictions related to treason or espionage. There is a special provision under which VA employees can be denied credit toward a retirement benefit for a time period in which they were involved in felony conduct related to their official duties.