Sept - Nov Issue
September 24, 2014

TRS: COLA increase slated for September

Source: NYSUT United

Paul Farfaglia, Tim Southerton, Karen Magee and David Keefe.Q: I know the New York State Teachers' Retirement System Cost-Of-Living Adjustment takes place this fall. When will I see an increase in my monthly benefit payment?

A: Thanks to New York state's COLA law, which NYSUT member activists were instrumental in helping to get passed in 2000, eligible retirees will see an increase in their monthly benefit payment starting Sept. 30. All eligible retired members with an annual benefit of $18,000 or more will receive the maximum increase of $15 per month. Eligible members who receive annual benefits totaling less than $18,000 will receive a smaller monthly increase.

New York's permanent, automatic COLA is designed to help offset the effects of inflation on the fixed retirement benefits of state public retirees.

The COLA is calculated by taking 50 percent of the March-to-March Consumer Price Index increase and multiplying it by the first $18,000 of the retirement benefit. The annual increase is a minimum of 1 percent to a maximum of 3 percent.

Q: Who is eligible to receive a COLA increase?

A: All COLA recipients must meet one of four qualifications:

  • be age 62 or older and have been retired for at least five years;
  • be age 55 or older and retired at least 10 years;
  • be a retiree receiving a New York State Teachers' Retirement System disability benefit for at least five years, regardless of age or;
  • be a surviving spouse of an eligible retiree who elected to receive a lifetime benefit. By law, spousal COLA increases total half of what the eligible retiree would have received.

If you are eligible, you will receive a letter indicating how much you will receive prior to your September pension payment. Those who become eligible for a COLA after September will begin receiving their increase in the month following their eligibility.

DID YOU KNOW

The cumulative maximum monthly benefit increases since the COLA was enacted in 2001 total $281.

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