The inflation index used to determine the 2021 federal retiree COLA was unchanged in May, leaving the count at -0.3 percent through eight months of the counting period. If the final count, through the figure for September, finishes negative, benefits will be frozen but not reduced; that has happened three times in the last decade.
Cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) are effective on December 1 of each year and are applied to the annuity payments made the following month. COLAs for those retired less than one year are prorated according to the date on which they retired. If you retire in January, your first adjustment will be made in January of the following year and will be for 11/12ths of the COLA amount. If you retire in February it will be 10/12ths, and so forth. Future COLAs will be for the full amount.
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Pandemic Could Impact Social Security Finances, COLAs
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More on COLAs – Federal Cost of Living Adjustments at ask.FEDweek.com