With only one month to go in the counting period toward the January 2021 federal retirement COLA, the figure stands at 1.4 percent, following an increase in August of 0.4 percentage points in the inflation index used to set that adjustment.

The final figure is to be determined October 13 with the release of the September figure. The adjustment is based on the change in the average of the figures in one third calendar quarter to the next.


Barring an unexpected severe downturn in the September number, release of the August figure virtually guarantees that there will be an increase in January, an issue that had been in question when the index fell into negative figures for several months due to the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic. A negative accounting results in benefits being frozen, but not reduced, which last happened in 2016.