Retiree COLAs Set at 1.7%

October 22, 2014

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The Social Security Administration has announced a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 1.7 percent for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The increase will be reflected in January 2015 annuity payments.

FERS retirees over the age of 62 who have been receiving annuity benefits for a year or more will receive the full amount. CSRS retirees, regardless of age, also will receive the full amount. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will pro-rate the percentage for those who have been receiving annuity benefits for less than one year.

FERS disability retirement annuitants will receive the COLA regardless of age, unless they are receiving 60 percent or more of their high-three salary.

Cost-of-living adjustments for federal and postal retirees are based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, known as the CPI-W.  The calculation method has been the subject of continued controversy in recent years.

The APWU Retirees Department and other retirees’ organizations have been urging Congress to use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which takes into account seniors’ higher spending on medical care and the higher inflation rates they encounter as a result. This would more accurately reflect the increased cost of living retirees’ face and would result in greater COLAs.

“We must continue to make it known to our congressional representatives that our cost-of-living adjustments should be calculated using the CPI-E.  That is the only fair way to calculate living expenses of seniors,” said Retirees Department Director Judy Beard.



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