Cost-of-Living Adjustments

MOSERS provides annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to retired members (general state employees and judges) and their surviving beneficiaries. The purpose of a COLA is to help you cope with inflation. COLAs help you maintain your purchasing power as inflation increases the cost of various items you buy.

How are MOSERS COLAs calculated?

For general state employees, COLAs are based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) from one year to the next. The maximum increase is 5% (minimum 0%).

This calculation is based on law in the Revised Statutes of Missouri:

  • MSEP: Chapter 104.415
  • MSEP 2000: Chapter 104.1045

See the Summary of Pension Benefit Provisions brochure (All Plans) for more information. 

When will I receive my COLA?

You will receive your COLA in the same month each year. In general, it will be on the anniversary date of your retirement, with the following exceptions:

  • If you converted from MSEP to MSEP 2000 during the conversion window in 2000, we will apply your COLA each July.
  • If you elected a BackDROP, we will apply your COLA each year on the anniversary of your BackDROP date.
  • If you are a vested former member of MSEP 2011, we will apply your first COLA on the second anniversary of your retirement (rather than the first anniversary). 

We will send you a notice, either in the mail or in your MOSERS Document Express online mailbox, during the month when you get your COLA.

What CPI is used for the COLA calculation?

We calculate COLAs based on the CPI-U, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers.

To learn more review the Consumer Price Index Frequently Asked Questions on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website.

What is the COLA cap?

If you were employed before August 28, 1997, and retire under the MSEP, you have a COLA cap.

In this situation, you will get a COLA of at least 4% each year (maximum 5%) until you reach your COLA cap. You reach the COLA cap when the sum of your COLAs equal 65% of your initial benefit amount.


$1,000 (Initial Base Benefit) x .65 (65%) = $ 650 (COLA Cap) 

  • After reaching your COLA cap, your annual COLA will be equal to 80% of the percentage increase in the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) from one year to the next. The minimum is 0% and the maximum is 5%. You will continue getting a COLA after you have reached your COLA cap. We will simply calculate it differently.
  • You can find your estimated date to reach the COLA cap on your Annual Benefit Statement in the COLA section. Typically, members reach the COLA cap around 12 to 13 years after retirement.

More Information

History of COLAs


COLA Video

MOSERS Comparison Calculator - Allows members of MSEP to compare the impact of COLAs in MSEP with those in MSEP 2000 over time