The COLA condundrum: Recent retired feds won't see increase

Friday - 12/16/2011, 6:03pm EST

Tammy Flanagan, senior benefits director, National Institute of Transition Planning

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Federal retirees are due for a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment starting next year.

But for COLAs and federal retirement, close isn't good enough. Employees planning to retire — even by Dec. 31 — won't be eligible for the increase.

Federal employees must be retired in the year the COLA is calculated — in this case 2011. And the increase is prorated, based upon when an employee retires in relation when the COLA adjustment is made, which is Dec. 1.

So, feds who retired at the end of October, will only be eligible for 1/12 of the COLA increase.

Tammy Flanagan, the senior benefits director at the National Institute of Transition Planning, joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss what federal employees and retirees need to know about the COLA.