Q. Can anyone explain why retirees are not included in the 2 percent cost-of-living allowance for 2010? Is it because the President is pro union and retirees are not covered by the union? As far as I know, this is the first time retirees were excluded from annual COLAs. It would seem to me that retirees are more in need of the COLA than currently employed full-time employees.
A: There are two pieces of law involved here. The salaries of employees are governed by the pay comparability act, which compares the salaries of federal jobs with those in the private sector. Employees never receive COLAs. Only retirees and survivors are eligible for COLAs, which, like Social Security benefits, are controlled by changes in the consumer price index.