Oct 15, 2015

No 2016 COLA for Federal Retirees

"...There will be no cost-of-living-adjustment increase for 2016 after Consumer Price Index numbers for the third quarter came in under the mark, we learned Thursday. As a result, 30 percent of Medicare Part B beneficiaries—including many federal retirees—will see health insurance premiums shoot up from $104.90 a month to $159.30, a more than 50 percent hike.

“That would be a big problem for a lot of people,” said Walt Francis, an economist and expert on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. “They face choices like, ‘Do I drop Part B?’ Or, for example, some older federal employees who are thinking of retiring next year, they may want to postpone their retirement so they can sign up for Part B a year later.”

COLA adjustments are determined, in part, by the CPI-W, which determines the price of goods and services by urban wage earners and clerical workers. The COLA level increases if the third quarter CPI-W numbers are more than the previous year’s numbers. If the CPI-W remains at or below than the previous year, the COLA benefit remains the same..."

Read more at federaltimes.com

Oct 10, 2015

We'll Find Out Oct 15th if There’s a 2016 COLA

"...Federal and military retirees will find out next week whether they can expect a cost-of-living adjustment next year. It doesn’t look good.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Oct. 15 will publish the third number that determines whether retirees get a COLA in 2016. Things are bleak: Based on the current data, there won’t be a COLA boost next year. Things might change with September’s number, the final data point in the equation, but it’s not likely..."

Read more at GovExec.com

Aug 20, 2015

2016 Federal COLA Increase Appearing Unlikely

"...As we edge closer to October, when federal retirees and Social Security recipients learn how much their COLA will actually be in 2016, the answer to whether there will be a COLA increase in 2016 becomes a little more clear each month.

It now appears increasingly less likely that there will be a COLA increase for federal retirees in January 2016. 

The reason is because the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is about the same in July as it was in June. The CPI-W is the index used for measuring increases in the prices that are used to determine how much the COLA increase will be, if any, in January 2016. As determined by the relevant data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (CPI-W) in October 2014, federal retirees received a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to their civil service annuities beginning in January 2015. Social Security benefits and military retirement annuities increased by the same amount.

The CPI-W has actually declined 0.3 percent over the last 12 months. To calculate the 2016 COLA, if any, the average of the indices of July, August, and September 2015 will be compared with the 2014 third quarter average. The percentage increase, if any, determines the COLA some federal retirees will receive next January..."

Read more at FedSmith.com

Jul 23, 2015

Changes Coming to Federal Retirement Calculations?

"...Will the amount a federal employee must contribute to a future pension go up in the near future? Will the computation for calculating the amount of the pension contribution change from a “high three” to a “high five”?

No one knows with any certainty what will emerge from Congress on these issues. But, with the massive federal deficit that is still increasing by hundreds of billions per year, the bruising budget battles looming in Congress in the near future, and the wide divide between Republicans that generally want to reduce the deficit and decrease government spending and Democrats that generally want to increase spending and continue deficit spending, anything is possible..."

Read more at FedSmith.com

Mar 6, 2015

Getting Full Credit Towards Your Retirement

"...When planning for retirement, one crucial step is to make sure you’re getting service credit for all your working time that counts toward your calculation. This includes not just credit for federal employment that obviously is creditable but also for certain types of employment that you otherwise might rule out or forget about—such as part-time or temporary work years ago while a student.

Creditable service applies to more types of employment than you might think. For example, it covers work such as service with the Peace Corps and Vista, volunteer service under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, employment as a United States Capitol Guide, and work as a substitute letter carrier..."

Read more at fedweek.com

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