OPERS announces COLA amount for 2022

All eligible retirees will receive a 3% cost-of-living adjustment

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

July 16, 2021 – Cost-of-living adjustments for OPERS members in 2022 will be 3 percent for all those eligible to receive the annual benefit increase.

The OPERS COLA is based on a retiree’s initial pension benefit. COLAs will be paid next year to those with a retirement effective date of Dec. 1, 2021, or earlier. COLAs are paid on the anniversary of a retiree’s effective date.

While members with a retirement effective date prior to Jan. 7, 2013, automatically receive a 3 percent adjustment, those with a retirement effective date on or after that date have their COLAs based on the Consumer Price Index-W, the government’s inflation index for urban wage earners and clerical workers.

According to state law, the annual COLA for those retirees is to be based on the change in the CPI-W index from the end of June 2020 to the end of June this year, with a maximum adjustment of 3 percent.

OPERS’ inflation-based COLA uses the same index as Social Security. But the time period measured is different, so the adjustments might not always match up.

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

86 thoughts on “OPERS announces COLA amount for 2022

  • July 16, 2021 at 10:20 am
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    I read this twice so what is the COLA for those that retired after January 2013?

    Reply
    • July 16, 2021 at 2:31 pm
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      Linda,

      The COLA for everyone next year will be 3 percent.

      Reply
      • July 20, 2021 at 1:45 pm
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        Thank you for your quick response.

        Reply
        • April 21, 2022 at 6:17 pm
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          Will there be only a COLA of 3% for employees who retired in 1997 or will it be reflective on the lower amount of pension in 1997?

          Reply
          • April 27, 2022 at 1:41 pm
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            Ron,

            Members who retired in 1997 receive an annual COLA of 3 percent of their original benefit.

      • February 1, 2022 at 2:38 pm
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        So the yearly COLA is based on your original monthly pension or is it compounding?

        Reply
        • February 3, 2022 at 11:09 am
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          Terri,

          It’s a simple COLA, meaning it’s always based on your initial pension and does not compound.

          Reply
  • July 16, 2021 at 11:09 am
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    Thanks, Mike, for keeping us retires informed on important concerns like our COLA.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2021 at 11:41 am
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    How are people getting cola raises when you reduced people’s retirement income from what they were previously projected by putting them in group B. I thought the system did not have enough money and that’s why the whole retirement system was changed where is the 3% coming from?

    Reply
    • July 16, 2021 at 2:30 pm
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      Paul,

      We announced the formation of Group B in 2012, and its creation was never predicated on eliminating the COLA.

      Reply
      • July 17, 2021 at 7:33 am
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        Thank you Michael. Let me ask the question in a different way and from my perspective. I had 11 years in PERS in 2012 when you restructured the system and I was put in group B What made you restructure the system?
        I started working under PERS in 1984 and left in 1995 but left my money there. I came back in 2010. PERS put in Group B yet I started in the system in 1984. Thank you

        Reply
        • July 19, 2021 at 7:52 am
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          Paul,

          There were a number of factors. Chief among them was the unforeseen Great Recession, which in one year reduced our defined benefit portfolio by more than 27 percent. You also should consider demographic changes that would soon be upcoming (more boomers retiring) and longer lifespans, fewer public employees contributing and the impact of benefit enhancements made to the system in the 1990s and early 2000s.

          Reply
        • April 13, 2022 at 11:41 am
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          So with the cola skyrocketing and SS is receiving a cola over 8% what’s the chance overs will boost our cola above the 3% for a year so we aren’t falling behind? And why isn’t our cola figured using the same time frame as SS?

          Reply
          • April 13, 2022 at 2:05 pm
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            Jim,

            The COLA amount, capped at 3 percent, is set in Ohio law and would take an act of the Ohio General Assembly to change.

  • July 16, 2021 at 1:32 pm
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    So… next year I will or will not get the 3% cola if I retired in 2018???

    Reply
    • July 16, 2021 at 2:26 pm
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      Krisrina,

      Every OPERS retiree who is retired as of Dec. 1 of this year will receive a 3 percent COLA in 2022.

      Reply
      • August 3, 2021 at 11:42 am
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        THANKS Mike…It can’t be clearer than that!

        Reply
      • October 6, 2021 at 5:22 pm
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        What if my retirement date is June 2022… would it be more beneficial for me to retire then and not get a cola or retire before December1, 2022

        Reply
        • October 7, 2021 at 8:55 am
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          Cheryl,

          We couldn’t possibly give you a definitive answer because we don’t know your personal circumstances. All we can say is that if you retire this year, your initial COLA would be granted in 2022 at 3 percent. Working longer generally leads to a higher pension benefit, but to be sure call us or use our Benefit Estimator. Here’s a link to a video that explains how the Benefit Estimator works: https://www.opers.org/videos/#!/eJ3Np9li6wM

          Reply
  • July 16, 2021 at 2:17 pm
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    why not just let those of us with a retirement effective date on or after Jan. 7, 2013, know that we, ALSO, will automatically receive a 3 percent adjustment?

    The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 6.1 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 266.412 (1982-84=100).

    6.1% being greater than 3%, and with the post-date adjustment capped at 3%, we will get the same 3% adjustment, will we not?

    here’s the link: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

    Reply
    • July 16, 2021 at 2:25 pm
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      RJ,

      We said that in the blog. It’s in the subhead, too: “All eligible retirees will receive a 3% cost-of-living adjustment.” “Eligible” in this case means that you’re retired as of Dec. 1 of this year and thus able to receive an adjustment in 2022.

      Reply
  • July 16, 2021 at 3:29 pm
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    Hi Mike,

    Since it didn’t pass legislation, will they try for 0% cola in 2023 and 2024?
    It’s great were getting a cola, but I’d rather they passed this now than later.
    Also with the deficit how long until they start cutting pensions?
    Since the stock market is way up after 2008? Why didn’t opers accounts go up respectively?
    Was it they were just giving money away to spouses for health care and finally realized that wasn’t very prudent. All of a sudden the market collapses and opers is in the red for the next 30 years.

    I thought I had a secure pension when I retired and I retired earlier than I wanted because of the guaranteed 3%. Which turned out to be not guaranteed. I was just too young by 1 year to make it 2013. I got the 3% for 4 years.

    Had I known they were going to cut it, I would of worked 2 more years.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2021 at 5:45 pm
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    What happens if you retire after Dec 2021? You don’t get the 3%?

    Reply
    • July 19, 2021 at 7:47 am
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      ER,

      Retirement effective dates are always on the first of the month. So if you “retire after Dec. 1” of this year, your earliest retirement effective date would be Jan. 1, 2022. With that date being in 2022, your first eligibility for a COLA would be in 2023.

      Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 10:49 am
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    I thought the COLA increases were going to be frozen for two years.

    Reply
      • October 17, 2021 at 11:16 am
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        That blog states that yearly COLAs account for 25% of pension disbursements. How does a COLA capped at 3 percent add 25% to the yearly pension cost?

        Reply
        • October 18, 2021 at 9:05 am
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          Ron,

          That figure would include all of the cumulative COLAs we have issued, when compared with just the initial pension benefit.

          Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 3:18 pm
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    3% COLA — YAY!! I am very happy about this.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2021 at 9:51 pm
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    Will. I be affected with my health care if I took a postion at apollo carrer center high school I retired n November of 2019

    Reply
    • July 29, 2021 at 2:20 pm
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      Pete,
      Please send your account specific questions through your online account message center or contact our member services center at 1-800-222-7377.
      Thanks MS

      Reply
  • July 27, 2021 at 8:55 am
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    Ohio has over 800 businesses paying into employer pension fund contributions at a rate of 14% since 2008.. ( That 14% was up from 13.85% in 2007. ) WHY hasn’t their rate of contribution been increased? Most retirees are taking a bit hit in our medical reimbursement accounts (mine is 5% in Jan 2022 ) and present OPERS workers now must work 2 more years to receive their retirement.
    I’ve contacted Sen Portman’s office today on the matter and will contact an attorney also. something is amiss here … and business has benefitted.

    Reply
    • July 27, 2021 at 10:17 am
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      Patricia,

      The employer contribution can be changed only by the Ohio legislature.

      Reply
  • August 17, 2021 at 3:55 pm
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    My retirement effective date was 12/1/20, will I receive a 3% COLA increase?

    Reply
    • August 18, 2021 at 11:13 am
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      Linda,
      The COLA is applied on the anniversary of your retirement effective date. The 2021 COLA is 0.5% so the COLA you would receive in 2021 would be 0.5% of your original gross benefit amount. The 2022 COLA will be 3%.
      Thanks MS

      Reply
      • August 18, 2021 at 12:40 pm
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        Thank you for your response

        Reply
      • September 28, 2021 at 12:22 am
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        Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        My anniversary date is October. Knowing the current COLA is 3%, I was just checking my new benefit amount and was horrified to calculate it was only 0.5%. After reading your reply to Linda, I concluded I won’t get my 2022 COLA until nearly the end of next year. Is this assumption correct? Thanks!!!

        Reply
        • October 4, 2021 at 11:25 am
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          Steven,

          COLAs begin on your retirement effective date, not at the beginning of the year, unless that’s your retirement effective date. If that’s in October, then your 2022 COLA will begin in October 2022 and will continue for one year.

          Reply
  • August 26, 2021 at 10:18 am
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    Yay!! I am happy about this!

    Reply
  • August 29, 2021 at 10:05 am
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    If the COLA is frozen and not distributed for a specific year, will I still receive the prior COLAs I have received since retirement?

    Reply
    • August 30, 2021 at 8:15 am
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      Bon,
      .
      The COLA proposal calls for two future years of COLAs to be frozen. It would not affect past adjustments.

      Reply
  • October 13, 2021 at 9:15 pm
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    CNN announced that Social Security recipients will get a cost of living increase of 5.9 in 2022 but rising prices will offset the boost. OPERS recipients increase will be 3% which is nice but with the high cost of living increase, we will be in the negative. OPERS is also making changes to the health care which is another huge hit to our retirement benefits. Is it the OPERS board that is responsible for all these changes?

    Reply
    • October 14, 2021 at 2:11 pm
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      Francie,
      Thank you for your comment. OPERS has communicated that the Cost-of-living adjustments for OPERS members in 2022 will be 3 percent for all those eligible to receive the annual benefit increase. Any changes to the Cost of living adjustment (COLA) require legislative approval. The OPERS Board of Trustees understand how important health care is to retirees while recognizing that pensions are a guaranteed benefit and must be funded first and health care is discretionary. With that being said, prudent planning has positioned OPERS to allow the offering of a meaningful health care component for career employees.
      Thanks, MS

      Reply
  • October 16, 2021 at 9:45 am
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    Will the COLA amount in 2022 be a lump sum amount that is deposited automatically in our accounts?

    Reply
    • October 18, 2021 at 9:07 am
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      Valerie,

      No. The COLA will be a percentage increase of your monthly benefit, thus issued monthly.

      Reply
  • October 18, 2021 at 1:45 pm
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    How far in advance can you use deferred comp to pay off the remainder of my five year military for retirement. I’m pay monthly payment before taxes and was told I had to wait. With the 5 year, I’m down to 11 months

    Reply
    • October 28, 2021 at 12:49 pm
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      Kenneth,
      Please forward your questions through the online message center so we can review your account and provide account specific answers. If you do not already have an online account, you may register from the upper right-hand corner of OPERS website. Once you have logged in, click on my account tab, select message center from the drop-down menu, then click add new at the bottom of the page to submit your question or contact us by phone at 1-800-222-7377.
      Thanks,
      MS

      Reply
  • October 27, 2021 at 10:18 pm
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    The 2022 cola is 3 % pretty low when everyone else is at 6

    Reply
    • October 28, 2021 at 10:09 am
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      Mike,

      As we’ve stated before, state law requires OPERS to cap its inflation-based COLA at 3 percent.

      Reply
  • November 12, 2021 at 11:31 am
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    Good morning Mike,
    I plan on retiring Dec 31, 2021 will I receive the COLA increase?

    Reply
    • November 15, 2021 at 6:39 am
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      Vince,

      COLAs are granted beginning with the month of your retirement effective date. We can’t tell what that is via the blog. If your last day of work is Dec. 31, it’s likely your retirement effective date would be Jan. 1, 2022, which means a COLA could not be granted in 2022 as that would be your first year of retirement. Please call us at 800-222-7377 for accurate information regarding your retirement effective date if you’re not sure what it is.

      Reply
  • November 14, 2021 at 12:32 pm
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    I called OPERS on Friday, November 12th to ask about the 3% COLA for 2022. If I retire by December 1st, the 3% COLA for me would be $159. I was told that this would be $159 per YEAR. Would it not be $159 per MONTH?

    Reply
    • November 15, 2021 at 6:26 am
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      Sherry,

      If a 3 percent COLA of $159 was quoted, then the amount the adjustment is based on must be about $5,300. If that’s your monthly pension, then the adjustment would be $159 monthly. If $5,300 is the annual pension benefit, then the $159 adjustment would be an annual amount.

      Reply
      • November 15, 2021 at 7:55 am
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        Thank you. I will now have to move up my retirement one month and hope that this will not be a problem.

        Reply
  • November 15, 2021 at 9:47 am
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    I retired December 1, 2020. However, the COLA computed was 0.5%. Per your comment below, I should be getting 3%. Can you please explain why the difference in COLA?

    Reply
    • November 15, 2021 at 10:08 am
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      AF,

      If you are receiving a 0.5 percent COLA this year, then you must have retired on or after Jan. 7, 2013. Retirees of that date or later have their adjustment tied to inflation, as measured by the CPI-W, capped at a maximum adjustment of 3 percent. OPERS reintroduced this inflation-based COLA in 2012 legislation. Those already retired as of the date mentioned above were grandfathered into the fixed, 3 percent COLA.

      The CPI-based COLA for 2021 was 0.5 percent. The CPI-based COLA for 2022 is 3 percent (the maximum allowable under Ohio law), and thus all retirees, regardless of effective retirement date, will receive a 3 percent COLA in 2022.

      Reply
  • November 27, 2021 at 6:37 pm
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    Michael

    I am trying to figure out my percentage of COLA to be applied for 2022. I retired the end of November, 2014 so I fall into this group:

    Those with a retirement effective date on or after that date have their COLAs based on the Consumer Price Index-W, the government’s inflation index for urban wage earners and clerical workers.

    According to state law, the annual COLA for those retirees is to be based on the change in the CPI-W index from the end of June 2020 to the end of June this year, with a maximum adjustment of 3 percent.

    OPERS’ inflation-based COLA uses the same index as Social Security. But the time period measured is different, so the adjustments might not always match up.

    And can you tell me what do they calculate the percent against; is it your monthly payment amount, or annual amount?

    I also have another question I am part of retirement Group A and my monthly benefit amount is being reduced. I was under the impression Group A would not be affected

    thanks for your help
    Donna

    Reply
    • November 29, 2021 at 8:10 am
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      Donna,

      The COLA is applied monthly, beginning with month of your retirement effective date. The COLA for all OPERS retirees in 2022 will be 3 percent. For those who will initially receive their adjustment in December 2022, the 3 percent COLA will apply through November 2023. Please call us at 800-222-7377 for questions about your benefit amount.

      Reply
  • November 30, 2021 at 11:57 pm
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    I retired in 2002. What is my adjustment?

    Reply
    • December 1, 2021 at 7:48 am
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      Dave,

      It’s 3 percent each year.

      Reply
  • December 7, 2021 at 1:45 pm
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    WHY did I get a letter today stating that I’m receiving less than 1/2% raise? Evidently many asking same question as there is a 3 1/2 to 5 hour wait to speak to them!

    Reply
    • December 7, 2021 at 2:43 pm
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      Jeff,

      If you just received information about a COLA, that means you likely retired in November and annually receive the adjustment in December. Those who retired after 2012 have their adjustment tied to the Consumer Price Index-W. That inflation-based COLA for 2021 was 0.5 percent, and you will receive that amount through November 2022. Next December, you will begin receiving the 2022 COLA, which is 3.0 percent for all eligible retirees. You’ll receive that adjustment through November 2023.

      Reply
  • December 10, 2021 at 1:33 pm
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    and the feds get 5.9 and inflation is what??

    Reply
    • December 13, 2021 at 9:25 am
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      Lauri,

      The OPERS COLA is set in statute. The inflation-based adjustment is capped at 3.0 percent.

      Reply
  • December 19, 2021 at 5:06 pm
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    I thought retirees that retired after 2013 were getting a 3% COLA, but according to my new benefit amount, I am getting a .5% COLA. Is this a mistake and who do I contact to rectify this?

    Reply
    • December 20, 2021 at 12:22 pm
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      Cathy,

      All retirees will receive a 3 percent COLA in 2022. If your benefit amount recently changed because of a COLA, that’s the 2021 adjustment, as it isn’t 2022 yet. COLAs are paid the same month as your retirement effective date.

      Reply
  • December 26, 2021 at 1:55 pm
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    How can I find out what my pers check amt will be in jan.2022

    Reply
    • December 30, 2021 at 10:25 am
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      Mary,

      You can check that in your online account.

      Reply
    • January 25, 2022 at 12:41 pm
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      I called Opers today. Spoke w representative about cola. I was told if u retired after Jan 1 2013 you were grandfathered into the 3 percent increase. No mention of differant groups or classes. I came to Columbus and met with pers before I made me retirement decision. They also said I would be grandfathered in when reading your recommendation for HB 413. It states retires from jan1 2010 to Jan 1 2013 implementing change will be delayed 2 yrs. so are the reps from Opers correct w info they give out. I’ve called Opers 3 times there recording states they cannot take calls at this time. ?????? I need to speak w an actual person who knows what’s happening. Ph 330 393 5595. Please find someone to return my call. Thnk u

      Reply
      • January 25, 2022 at 3:32 pm
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        Philomena,

        Members with a retirement effective date of Jan. 7, 2013, and later have their COLA tied to inflation. Specifically, a 12-month change in the CPI-W. Those with earlier retirement effective dates are currently grandfathered into a flat, 3 percent COLA.

        Reply
  • January 3, 2022 at 8:42 am
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    I didn’t get any COLA raise. I retired in 2011

    Reply
    • January 4, 2022 at 7:25 am
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      Edward,

      COLAs are initiated in the month of your effective date of retirement. If that wasn’t January, that’s why you didn’t see an adjustment in your January benefit payment.

      Reply
  • January 3, 2022 at 6:14 pm
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    When does the cola go in affect for 2022

    Reply
    • January 4, 2022 at 7:21 am
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      Ken,

      On the anniversary of your retirement effective date. We’ve explained this further in another comment on this blog.

      Reply
  • January 3, 2022 at 7:15 pm
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    “”COLAs are paid on the anniversary of a retiree’s effective date.”
    What does this mean?

    Reply
    • January 4, 2022 at 7:19 am
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      Drew,

      It means that retirees will first receive an adjustment in the month of their effective date of retirement. That “effective date” is the first day of the month that follows the last day they worked. For instance, if a member’s last day of working is Oct. 4, their “effective date” of retirement is Nov. 1.

      That means the COLA for any particular “year” will be initially granted on Nov. 1 for that retiree. OPERS stated last year that the COLA for 2022 would be 3 percent for all retirees. That person who has the Nov. 1 effective date will thus see the first 3 percent adjustment of 2022 in his/her November benefit payment.

      Thus, COLAs do not take effect in January for all retirees.

      A point of further clarification: When we say COLAs are “paid,” we mean “initiated.” In other words, the retiree will receive the adjustment monthly, not annually. For example, a 3 percent COLA for a $1,000 monthly benefit would be $30 per month. The retiree would receive an additional $30 each month for 12 months, vs. $360 in a lump sum.

      Reply
  • January 7, 2022 at 10:21 am
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    I retired 4/1/2021, at that time I was told that those retiring in 2021 would not receive a COLA for 2022. Will those who retired between 1/1/2021- 12/01/2021 also receive the 3% COLA for 2022.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • January 7, 2022 at 1:01 pm
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      Sally,

      Yes, if you retired in 2021 you’ll receive a COLA of 3 percent starting with the month of your effective retirement date.

      Reply
  • February 18, 2022 at 4:37 pm
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    What does it mean if your Benefit Calculations Detail Members group is listed as “SUPER A” ? When I called the OPERS contact phone number the person wasn’t sure.

    Reply
    • February 22, 2022 at 7:26 am
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      Hello.

      Members of “Super Group A” are those who already were retired before our pension legislation package went into effect in early 2013.

      Reply
      • March 10, 2022 at 12:17 am
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        I am aware that the COLA is calculated based on the initial benefit amount. However, if you take a PLOP, would the COLA be based on the initial benefit amount or the initial benefit amount minus the PLOP amount. Thank you.

        Reply
        • March 11, 2022 at 8:51 am
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          Eloise,

          If you take a partial lump sum option payment, the resulting COLA would be based on the initial benefit amount minus the PLOP.

          Reply
          • March 11, 2022 at 12:12 pm
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            Thank you.

  • March 14, 2022 at 12:28 am
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    COLA is based upon the initial benefit amount. Is the increase once calculated, received for EACH of the 12 months or spread over the 12-month period?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • March 15, 2022 at 8:39 am
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      Eloise,

      Beginning with the month that you’re eligible for the COLA, your benefit check will increase by the appropriate percentage as applied to your initial benefit, and will remain at that amount until the next COLA. For instance, if your original monthly benefit amount was $1,000, and you receive a 3 percent COLA, your benefit will increase by $30.

      Reply

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