Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) information for federal retiree benefits in 2019. CSRS annuitants will receive a 2.8 percent monthly increase starting with January 2019 benefit payments, while FERS retirees will see their monthly pensions adjusted by 2 percent. All Social Security beneficiaries will see their monthly benefits rise by 2.8 percent in January. (Under current law, annual increases for FERS annuitants do not equal the full increase once the amount of the COLA is greater than 2 percent.)
Annual adjustments to federal retiree annuities, Social Security benefits, and military pensions, are determined based on the rise in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which is calculated by the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2018, federal retirees, Social Security beneficiaries, and military retirees, received a 2 percent adjustment to their monthly benefits.
While it seems that the annual COLA trails real-world increases for many goods and services that are necessary for older Americans, NTEU remains steadfast in its commitment to block the administration’s harmful proposals—which we have successfully fended off the last two years on Capitol Hill—to eliminate COLAs for FERS retirees and to significantly reduce COLAs for CSRS annuitants. Additionally, NTEU will continue to fight for its retiree members other recurring proposals that seek to replace the measure used to calculate the COLA with a “chained CPI” in order to significantly lower the COLAs for all of our nation’s seniors.