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Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

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What is COLA?

A COLA payment is an adjustment, based on the cost-of-living index, which will permanently increase your retirement benefit. It is designed to address future inflation as it occurs.

How COLA is Determined

COLA payments equal 50 percent of the cost-of-living index and can be as much as 3 percent, but not less than 1 percent. COLA is calculated on the first $18,000 of your Single Life Allowance benefit or the actual amount of your benefit, if less. Once COLA payments begin, they continue automatically and you will receive an increase each September.

This Year’s COLA Increase

The September 2014 COLA equals 1.0 percent, for a maximum annual increase of $180.00, or $15.00 per month before taxes.

Eligibility

To begin receiving COLA payments, you must be:

  • Age 62 or older and retired for five or more years; or
  • Age 55 or older and retired for ten or more years (uniformed employees such as police officers, firefighters and correction officers); or
  • A disability retiree for five years; or
  • The spouse of a deceased retiree receiving a lifetime benefit under an option elected by the retiree at retirement. An eligible spouse is entitled to one-half the COLA amount that would have been paid to the retiree when the retiree would have met the eligibility criteria.
  • A beneficiary receiving the accidental death benefit for five or more years on behalf of a deceased Employees’ Retirement System member.

Receiving COLA

You will receive your first COLA increase the month following the month you become eligible. You will receive the prorated portion due for the month you became eligible plus the COLA for the month you receive the payment.

Once you are eligible, you will receive an annual COLA increase each September. We will send you a letter informing you of the amount prior to your September 30th pension payment, when the increase goes into effect.

(Rev. 7/14)