Retiree COLA Unaffected by Raise Prospects

Although the raise situation for active federal employees for January remains somewhat unsettled, the COLA for retirees is unaffected by that uncertainty, and will be 2 percent.

That amount will apply to all CSRS employees and to FERS employees eligible for COLAs—FERS doesn’t pay COLAs until age 62 except to those disabled, those retiring earlier under mandatory retirement, and survivor beneficiaries. Also to note is that initial federal retirement COLAs are prorated for those on the retirement rolls for less than 12 months.

COLAs on Social Security benefits also will be 2 percent; they are paid regardless of whether an individual has been retired a full year.

The raise for active employees and the COLA for retirees are not formally linked, although in practice they commonly are around the same amount. In some years one or the other may be substantially higher, though.