Workforce

House bill looks to boost COLA for Social Security recipients, federal retirees

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A bill introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and John Larson (D-Conn.) seeks to increase the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment to 3%, up from the 1.3% announced by President Donald Trump earlier this month. The Social Security adjustment also applies to pension benefits received by federal retirees.

The Social Security Expansion Act would use a different index – the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) – to make the adjustments for seniors.

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are facing additional financial burdens in order to stay safe," said DeFazio. "This absolutely anemic COLA won’t even come close to helping them afford even their everyday expenses, let alone those exacerbated by COVID-19."

Ken Thomas, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association called the 1.3% increase, "an affront to the millions of federal retirees who devoted their working lives to serving the public." NARFE is also backing the use of CIP-E to calculate COLA changes on a permanent basis.

News of the 1.3% increase, the lowest in four years, was followed by the announcement from the Office of Personnel Management that participant share of health premiums for federal employees and retirees would be rising by 4.9% for 2020.

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.

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