February 14, 2018
Contract COLA: 4th COLA is $520
The fourth regular COLA under the 2016-2019 National Agreement is $520 annually following the release of the January 2018 Consumer Price Index.
On February 14, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W, 1967=100) stood at 720.604 in January, 22.024 points above the base index of 698.580 in July 2014. After adding the 0.465 cents carried forward from the third adjustment period, the accumulated COLA through February stood at 25 cents per hour or $520 annually.
The fifth COLA will be based on the increase in the CPI-W between the base index month and July 2018, less any previously calculated COLAs, and will be payable the second full pay period following the release of the July 2018 index. The four COLAs that have been calculated under the 2016-2019 National Agreement, totaling 55 cents per hour, are as follows: 1st COLA, 1 cent per hour ($21 annually), 2nd COLA, 16 cents per hour ($333 annually), 3rd COLA, 13 cents per hour ($270 annually), and the 4th COLA, 25 cents per hour ($520 annually).
2019 Retiree COLAs Projection: 0.9% as of January 2018
The 2019 COLAs for CSRS and FERS benefits are based on the increase in the average CPI-W between the 3rd quarter of 2017 (239.668) and the 3rd quarter of 2018 (TBA).
Based on the January 2018 CPI-W (1982-84=100) of 241.919, the 2019 CSRS and FERS COLAs are currently projected to be 0.9%. The 2019 retiree COLA calculation will be finalized in October 2018 with the release of the CPI-W for September 2018.
CSRS annuities receive full COLAs; COLAs for FERS annuities are payable for retirees 62 and older and may be reduced by up to one percentage point from the increase in the CPI.
2019 FECA COLA projection: 0.6% as of January 2018
Based on the release of the January 2018 CPI-W (1982-84=100), the 2019 FECA COLA projection is 0.6%. The January 2018 CPI-W (241.919) was 0.6% above the December 2017 base index (240.526). The 2019 FECA COLA calculation will be finalized when the December 2018 CPI-W is published during the month of January 2019.
FECA COLAs are applicable only in cases where death or disability occurred more than one year prior to the adjustment’s effective date.
Source: Pay tables, COLA info, annuity projections | National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO