OPERS announces 2019 cost-of-living adjustment

Annual benefit increase tied to Consumer Price Index to be 3 percent

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

July 24, 2018 – All eligible OPERS retirees will receive a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment in 2019, including those whose increase will be based on the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

Members whose effective date of retirement is after Jan. 7, 2013, are scheduled to have next year’s COLA based on the CPI-W, the government’s inflation index for urban wage earners and clerical workers. According to state law, the annual COLA for these retirees is to be based on the change in the CPI-W index from the end of June 2017 to the end of June this year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the CPI-W index increased 3.09 percent over that period. State law caps the OPERS COLA at 3 percent.

The BLS also reported that two other inflationary indexes increased over the June-to-June span, although not as much as the CPI-W. The CPI-U, a common measure of inflation in the United States, increased 2.87 percent. The CPI-E, an experimental CPI for Americans 62 years of age and older, trailed the other measures at 2.79 percent.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

39 thoughts on “OPERS announces 2019 cost-of-living adjustment

  • July 24, 2018 at 12:05 pm
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    Thank You!

    Reply
  • July 24, 2018 at 12:55 pm
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    I wish the cola was simply allowed to float with the CPI. Just maintaining purchasing power over the long haul is all I’m after.

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    • July 26, 2018 at 9:31 am
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      The COLA increase will take effect in 2019.  

      Reply
  • July 24, 2018 at 1:52 pm
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    Thank you! It’s a much-needed increase.

    Reply
  • July 24, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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    Thank You very much!

    Reply
  • July 24, 2018 at 5:43 pm
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    Does this mean that after 2019 the COLA for pre 2013 retirees will also be tied to the CPI?

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    • August 1, 2018 at 4:33 pm
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      No. Retirees whose effective date of retirement is after Jan. 7, 2013, are scheduled to have next year’s COLA based on the Consumer Price Index. For those retirees, the COLA amount will be set every year.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • July 24, 2018 at 8:54 pm
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    That is great…every little bit helps. And not changing or reducing pension in whatever manner is a wise decision.

    God bless
    love Teresa and Everyone

    Reply
  • July 24, 2018 at 9:48 pm
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    Can you please give an example of how this will work. If based on an estimated FAS will this 3% be added into the FAS and increase the total amount each year or ALWAYS go back to the FAS for the rest of a persons life?

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    • July 26, 2018 at 9:23 am
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      Sure, Cathleen. OPERS provides a simple COLA. That means the annual adjustment is always based on your original pension benefit.

      Hope that helps,

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • July 25, 2018 at 12:31 am
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    When the changes take place , it should be for all retirees and not just for those who retired after Jan.. 2013. That is completely unfair. It should be across the board. Those of us who retired recently are dealing with higher prices for food, gas, etc. Continuing to allow those prior to 2013 to receive 3 percent allows them to increase their pension to exceed ours. How is that fair?

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    • July 25, 2018 at 10:24 am
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      What difference does it make what everyone else is getting? Regardless of when we retired, we are buying the same food, gas, etc. that you are. Don’t begrudge anyone else’s success. Just be grateful for what you have and are getting.

      Reply
    • July 25, 2018 at 11:15 am
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      And…those of us that retired years ago our pensions are based on lower..sometimes MUCH LOWER ..salaries amounting in lower initial pensions than current employees/retirees
      We are just staying even.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2018 at 6:19 am
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    That is GREAT news! Does OPERS have any plans for future COLA increases for retirees who retired before Jan &, 2013?

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    • July 26, 2018 at 9:21 am
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      Tuesday’s announcement addressed only the COLA percentage in 2019.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
    • July 26, 2018 at 9:19 am
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      The COLA is always based on your original pension benefit.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2018 at 12:23 pm
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    Do new retiree’s that retire this year in 2018 have to wait
    2 years before their first COLA increase ?

    thanks…

    Reply
    • July 26, 2018 at 1:18 pm
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      No, Bill, you are eligible for a COLA 12 months after your effective retirement date. If you retire in 2018, you will receive a 3% COLA in 2019.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • July 25, 2018 at 3:43 pm
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    Would some who retired in early 2018 get get the 3% Cola in 2019?

    Reply
    • July 26, 2018 at 1:16 pm
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      Yes. You are eligible for a COLA 12 months after your effective retirement date.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • July 26, 2018 at 11:15 pm
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    Looking forward to 2020… will the 3% continue or will it be evaluated again…
    Is it evaluated each year or every few years

    Reply
    • August 1, 2018 at 4:32 pm
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      Retirees whose effective date of retirement is after Jan. 7, 2013, are scheduled to have next year’s COLA based on the Consumer Price Index. For those retirees, the COLA amount will be set every year.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • July 30, 2018 at 5:54 am
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    Isn’t this 3% COLA what was supposed to be issued, or am I missing something?

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    • July 31, 2018 at 2:47 pm
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      Jim,

      It was scheduled to be tied to the Consumer Price Index for 2019, not to exceed 3 percent. Because the CPI-W over the recording period averaged 3.09 percent, the 2019 COLA will be 3 percent.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply
  • July 31, 2018 at 2:08 pm
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    I retired in September 2015. I will get my last set 3% COLA this September, then it is based on CPI. Will I get the 2019 COLA in January 2019 or September 2019?

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    • August 1, 2018 at 11:22 am
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      You will continue to receive your COLA in September.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • August 1, 2018 at 9:31 pm
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    Have the medical allowances for 2019 been determined yet?

    Reply
    • August 2, 2018 at 9:39 am
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      Yes. Your monthly Health Reimbursement Arrangement allowance in 2019 will be the same amount as your allowance in 2018. More detail will be provided in your open enrollment materials this fall. For more information about how to use your HRA, go to opers.org.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • August 8, 2018 at 11:47 am
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    Have I missed something?? I thought ALL retirees’ COLA’s would be based on the CPI beginning in 2019. But it seems like you’re saying ONLY those who retired after January 7, 2013 will have their COLA’s based on the CPI. Those of us who retired since 2000 have been receiving a fixed 3% COLA annually . . will that continue??

    Reply
    • August 9, 2018 at 8:59 am
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      Only those retirees whose effective date of retirement is after Jan. 7, 2013 have their COLA based on the Consumer Price Index. For those retirees, the COLA amount will be set every year.

      Reply

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