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  • COLA Cap

    Jun 22, 2022, 9:10 AM By MOSERS

    Is there a "cap" on the amount of COLA increases retirees receive each year, given the economy warrants it?

    The maximum increase for the COLA in a single year is 5%.

    COLAs for most retirees are equal to 80% of the percentage increase in the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) from one year to the next, with a maximum of 5% (minimum of 0%). 

    You may have read information about another type of COLA Cap: Members employed before August 28, 1997, who retired under MSEP, have a COLA cap. Retirees in this situation, get a guaranteed COLA of at least 4% each year (maximum 5%) until they reach the COLA cap. They reach the COLA cap when the sum of their COLAs equals 65% of their initial benefit amount.

    Example:

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

    • After reaching the COLA cap, annual COLAs 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%. In other words, retirees eligible for the guaranteed 4% COLA continue receiving a COLA after reaching the COLA cap, however, it isn’t guaranteed at any rate.
    • Typically, members reach the COLA cap around 12 to 13 years after retirement.
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  • Calculating the COLA

    Apr 19, 2022, 8:51 AM By MOSERS
    With the CPI nearing 5% and expected to rise above it I'm wondering how what the 5% maximum on the COLA is. Is the maximum COLA 5% or is the maximum COLA calculated as 80% of a maximum 5% CPI (5% x .80 = 4%)?

    The maximum cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for MOSERS retirees and beneficiaries is 5%. If the percentage change in the CPI from one year to the next were 5%, the COLA would be 4% (80% of 5%). If the percentage change in the CPI from one year to the next were 6.2%, the COLA would be 4.96% (80% of 6.2%). If the percentage change in the CPI from one year to the next were 10%, the COLA would be 5% (80% of 10% is 8% but the maximum COLA is 5%).

    The COLA that our retirees or their beneficiaries will receive this year is 3.758%. 

    To learn more, see our Cost-of-Living Adjustments page. 
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  • Calculating the CPI

    Mar 4, 2022, 3:24 PM By MOSERS
    I understand that MOSERS COLA is 80% of the "average CPI" increase. Can you tell me how the average CPI is calculated? According to bls.gov, "From December 2020 to December 2021, consumer prices for all items rose 7.0 percent, the largest December to December percent change since 1981."

    This is a great question! The source you reference is comparing the change from just the month of December in 2020 to just the month of December in 2021. According to Missouri state law, each January, MOSERS must compare the average monthly values of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the calendar year just completed (2021) to the average CPI from the prior year (2020) to determine the percentage change between the two years. For example, while the difference from the month of December 2020 to the month of December 2021 was nearly 7%, the difference from January 2020 to January 2021 was 1.38%. We must use the average change from one year to the next. Please see the 2022 COLA Calculation Memo for details.

     As you noted, for general state employees, COLAs are based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average (CPI) from one year to the next. The maximum increase is 5% (minimum 0%). Please see the article, The 2022 COLA is Here, for additional information. 

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  • 2022 COLA Rate

    Jan 25, 2022, 9:17 AM By MOSERS
    Will we get the 5% Cola this year? Medicare gave a raise of 5.9%. If not please explain.

    The COLA rate for 2022 is 3.758%.

    According to Missouri state law, MOSERS calculates COLAS as follows:

    Each January, we must compare the average Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the calendar year just completed (2021) to the average CPI from the prior year (2020) to determine the percentage change between the two years. For general state employees, COLAs are based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average (CPI) from one year to the next. The maximum increase is 5% (minimum 0%).

    The 2022 COLA rate of 3.758% applies to: 

    • All retired members of MSEP 2000 and MSEP 2011
    • MSEP retirees who have reached their 65% COLA cap
    • MSEP retirees first employed on or after August 28, 1997

    If you were employed before August 28, 1997, and retired under MSEP, 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 equals 65% of your initial base benefit amount. 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, which, as noted above, is 3.758 for 2022.

    The purpose of a COLA for any type of pay or retirement benefit is to help you cope with inflation. COLAs help you maintain your purchasing power as inflation increases the cost of various items you buy. See the article, The 2022 COLA is Here, and the COLA page on our website for more information. 

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  • COLA for Retirees

    Dec 17, 2021, 3:56 PM By MOSERS
    If I retire in August of 2022 will I get that years cola.

    A general state employee who retires directly from active service will receive their first COLA on the anniversary month of their retirement. So, if you retire in August of 2022, you will receive your first COLA in August of 2023. The amount of the COLA for the calendar year is calculated each year in January.  

    COLAs are payable on the anniversary of your retirement date except for:

    • Retirees who converted from MSEP to MSEP 2000 during the conversion window in 2000 will have COLAs payable in July.
    • Retirees who elected a BackDROP will have COLAs payable on the anniversary of their BackDROP date.
    • Terminated-vested members of the MSEP 2011 will receive their first COLA on the second anniversary of their 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.

    *If you retired under MSEP, and were hired before August 28, 1997, your COLA may be different. See “What is the COLA cap?”

    Please see the COLA page on our website for additional information.

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  • 5.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)

    Dec 9, 2021, 10:25 AM By MOSERS
    if mo.state workers get a 5.5% pay raise will retires also ger a raise ?

    No. The Governor’s proposal for a 5.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and $15 per hour minimum base pay standard is for all active state employees. If it gains legislative approval, it would not affect benefits for anyone who is already retired.

    Retirement benefits for general state employees (including university employees) are calculated using a three-part formula: FAP x Multiplier x Credited Service = Monthly pension benefit payment. Cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments are also based on state statute and depend on the individual’s retirement plan. Retirees do get a COLA each year. See our COLA page for more details. Any change to how pension benefits are calculated would require legislative action and we are not aware of any legislative proposals to change benefit amounts for state retirees.

    Learn more about your benefits in the Summary of Pension Benefit Provisions (All Plans) and by plan on our website: MSEPMSEP 2000, and MSEP 2011.

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  • The 2022 COLA

    Dec 8, 2021, 10:46 AM By MOSERS

     Is there going to be a cost of living increase in January 2022?

    MOSERS will be able to determine the 2022 COLA in mid-January 2022. For most retirees, the rate calculation is based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average Consumer Price Index from one year to the next, with a maximum increase of 5% (minimum 0%).

    When will it be paid? 

    Each year, you will receive a COLA on the anniversary of your retirement date, unless one of these exceptions applies to you:

    • Retirees who converted from MSEP to MSEP 2000 during the conversion window in 2000 have COLAs payable each year in July.
    • Retirees who elected a BackDROP* will have COLAs payable each year on the anniversary of their BackDROP date rather than on the anniversary of their retirement date.
    • MSEP 2011 members hired after January 1, 2011 who leave state employment prior to retirement eligibility, will receive their first COLA in retirement on the second anniversary of their retirement.

      We will send you a notice, either in the mail or in your MOSERS Document Express online mailbox, when the COLA is applied to your monthly benefit payment.

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  • 2022 COLA

    Aug 17, 2021, 9:43 AM By MOSERS
    The SSA is anticipating the largest COLA increase of the last 40 years at around 6% for 2022. Does this mean that MOSERS retirees can anticipate something close to the maximum COLA increase for MOSERS members for 2022 of 5%?

    We are unable to provide the 2022 COLA at this time, typically you can expect to see it by the end of January. 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%).

    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.

    See the History of COLAs and the COLA page on our website for more information.

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  • The 2021 COLA Rate

    Jan 27, 2021, 1:34 PM By MOSERS
    When are we going to know what the cola rate going to be for 2021 ??  

    The COLA rate for 2021 is 0.987%. We calculate it every year in mid-January. This COLA rate applies to: 

    • All retired members of MSEP 2000 and MSEP 2011
    • MSEP retirees who have reached their 65% COLA cap
    • MSEP retirees first employed on or after August 28, 1997

    If you were employed before August 28, 1997, and retired under the MSEP, 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 equals 65% of your initial base benefit amount. 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, which, as noted above, is 0.987% for 2021.

    The purpose of a COLA for any type of pay or retirement benefit is to help you cope with inflation. COLAs help you maintain your purchasing power as inflation increases the cost of various items you buy. See the article, The 2021 COLA is Here, and the COLA page on our website for more information. 

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  • 2021 COLA

    Jan 13, 2021, 12:00 AM By MOSERS
    When will we know what the cola will be for 2021?

    We expect to have the data by this Friday and we will post it ASAP.

    COLAs are payable on the anniversary of your retirement date except for:

    • Retirees who converted from MSEP to MSEP 2000 during the conversion window in 2000 will have COLAs payable in July.
    • Retirees who elected a BackDROP will have COLAs payable on the anniversary of their BackDROP date.
    • Terminated-vested members of the MSEP 2011 will receive their first COLA on the second anniversary of their 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.

    *If you retired under the MSEP, and were hired before August 28, 1997, your COLA may be different. See the MSEP/MSEP 2000 Handbook.

    Please see the COLA page on our website for additional information.

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Disclaimer

We strive to provide the most accurate information possible in our answers to Rumor Central questions. However, occasionally, laws, policies or provisions change and individual circumstances may vary. Please contact a MOSERS benefit counselor or see the handbooks in our website Library for more detailed information. If there is any difference between the information provided in this blog or on the MOSERS website and the law or policies that govern MOSERS, the law and policies will prevail. See our Privacy, Security & Legal Notices for more information.