With one month to go in the count toward the January 2022 federal retirement COLA, the count stands at 5.9 percent, following an increase in August of 0.2 percentage points in the inflation index used to set that adjustment.
Those retired under the CSRS system would receive the full amount while those retired under FERS who are eligible for COLAs—generally, not until age 62—would receive 1 percentage point less, under a capping formula that applies when the figure is above 3 percent. Under both systems, COLAs are prorated for those who have been retired less than 12 months.
The full adjustment further would apply to Social Security, military retirement and several other programs tied to the same inflation index.
The August figure was well below that of most prior months in the count but still puts retirees in line for the largest increase—pending the count for September to be released next month—at least since the 5.8 percent for CSRS/4.8 percent for FERS paid in January 2009.
Cheering a Big COLA in 2022 Like Rooting for Inflation?
The premise of every good news/bad news joke is that the good news makes for a positive feeling but the bad news that follows wipes it out. With that as an introduction, the good news for federal retirees is that the 2022 inflation increase to their benefits looks like it will be the largest in decades.