Author: Katelin P. Isaacs, Analyst in Income Security
Congress passed the first law requiring automatic COLAs for federal civil service retirement benefits in 1962, and it has adjusted either the formula by which they are calculated or the date on which they take effect more than a dozen times since then. If consumer prices as measured by the CPI-W do not increase from the third quarter of the base year to the third quarter of the current calendar year, there is no COLA for annuities paid under CSRS or FERS. From the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015, the CPI-W fell by 0.4%. Therefore, there will be no COLA under either CSRS or FERS in January 2016.