Sharply higher COLAs announced for 2022

The key government-calculated Consumer Price Index used as a basis for the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security payments and many other pension plans—including for federal employees—has been announced. It’s up 5.9% for 2022, the highest in decades. 

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the crucial CPI-W used each year in the calculation. The number is designed to reflect changes observed in consumer prices. 

That COLA calculation means that Social Security payments and federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) will receive the full 5.9% COLA, which will be added to their current benefits. Fed retirees under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), under the calculation governing their COLA, will receive a 4.9% bump. 

The Social Security Administration announced its COLA today. 

“Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022,” the Social Security Administration announced. “

“The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022,“ SSA continued. “Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.”

“This is the largest increase in nearly 40 years,” the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), a major federal employee union, commented, along with a statement acknowledging the hefty bump in COLAs—adding, “For years, NTEU has worked to protect federal retiree COLAs from severe cuts and even elimination. NTEU also fights recurring proposals aimed at replacing the formula used to determine the COLA with a ‘chained CPI.’ Over a 10-year period, a chained CPI could reduce federal annuities by thousands of dollars.” 

2021 Digital Almanac

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