Cost of Living Adjustment
For many state retirees — including members of APSCURF — rising costs for gas, utilities, healthcare and property taxes can be a tough economic reality to face. That’s because, unlike Social Security, pension payouts from the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) do not adjust automatically with inflation. A cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is only granted when members of the General Assembly pass legislation authorizing one.
The last time the General Assembly enacted COLA legislation was in 2002. There have been a number of proposals since then, but none has made its way to the governor’s desk.
Certainly, it’s a tough state budget environment, and many policymakers are concerned with the financial health of SERS over the next few years. However, it’s important for APSCURF members and other state retirees to stay engaged and continue talking with their legislators about the COLA issue.
How to get involved
- Contact your legislators
You click here to find out who represents you in the state Senate and House. APSCURF members may also request the legislative directory, which provides contact information for all members of the General Assembly. Please email Ty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-236-7486 for a copy. When you contact your legislators, you may use our draft letter or create your own using the COLA talking points below.
- Contact the governor
Click here for more information about how to contact Pennsylvania’s governor.
- Participate in the Retirement Security Coalition
The Retirement Security Coalition (RSC) is a working group of various organizations that collectively represent hundreds of thousands of retirees in the Commonwealth. Formed in 2006, the RSC supports legislation that will provide fiscal health to SERS and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), as well as provide a COLA for state and school retirees.
- Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Retired Faculties (APSCURF)
- Service Employees International Union/State Council (SEIU)
- American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
- Retired Public Employees of Pennsylvania AFSCME Chapter 13
- Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR)
- Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans (PARA)
- Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees (PARSE)
- Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers (PFT)
- Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA)
- Penn State Retirees Faculty/Staff Club
Retirement Security Coalition meeting information
The next RSC meeting will be held June 25, 2012, at the Irvis Office Building, Room 108, in Harrisburg unless notified to the contrary.
- State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS)
- SERS FAQ on Cost-of-Living Adjustments
- Legislative and Budget Finance Committee report examining COLA proposals and early retirement incentives for state employees (This PDF file may take a while to download.)
For more information about the Retirement Security Coalition and COLA legislation, please contact APSCUF’s government-relations director at 717-236-7486, Ext. 3014.
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