Retiree Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
How the COLA and the COLA Bank work
The Cost of Living Adjustment factor is determined by comparing the December CPI (Consumer Price Index) for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area, for the past two years. The Board computes the resulting percentage change in the CPI. The actual COLA is dependent on your previous employment tier and your retirement date.
The CERL “caps” the maximum percentage CCCERA can increase your benefit in any one year (Gov. Code Sections 31870, 31870.1, or 31870.3). If the change in CPI is higher than this statutory limit, the unused portion is “banked” for future years.
The annual automatic COLA is separate from other post-retirement adjustments, such as the “New Dollar Power COLA” and the $200 monthly supplement. While these other supplements apply to specific groups of retirees, the annual automatic COLA applies to every retirement allowance, optional death allowance and survivor allowance paid by CCCERA.
The COLA is effective each April 1. Since CCCERA pays monthly benefits on the first of the following month, May 1 is the date of the first payment that will include the COLA for that year. A member must be retired no later than March 31 in order to receive a COLA effective April 1.