Federal Retirees to See First COLA Increase in Two Years

For the first time in two years, our nation’s 1.9 million retired civil service employees will receive a cost of living adjustment. Consistent with the release of September’s Consumer Price Index figures, most federal retirees will receive a COLA of 3.6 percent.

After two years of deflationary pressure resulting from the recession, Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) annuitants will see their first COLA adjustment since 2009. CSRS annuitants, who make up roughly 80 percent of the civil service retiree community, will receive the full 3.6 percent adjustment while FERS annuitants can expect an adjustment of 2.6%.

According to a recent Congressional Research Service report cited in Eric Yoder’s recent Washington Post column, the average monthly benefit for CSRS and FERS annuitants stands at $2,899 and $1,051, respectively. Effective on January 1, 2012 the average CSRS annuitant will receive a $104 monthly increase and FERS annuitants will see $27 increase to monthly payouts.

“It’s about time federal retirees got the COLA adjustment they deserve,” said NFEE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “This was long overdue.”