Foreign Service retiree


Q. I am a retired FSN (LES) under the civil service retirement plan. I have a question:

The COLA is calculated on CPI in the U.S. We worked for the U.S. Foreign Service, in my case, Karachi, Pakistan. The cost of living has gone up by 100 percent.  But all the cost-of-living increases are done on the conditions prevailing in the U.S. How does that apply to us, retirees living outside the U.S.? It is requested that another COLA plan be introduced for retirees of other countries, who have served the U.S. government for more than 25 years. In our country, cost of living have gone up to heights unattainable. There should be at least a little increase every year for us to survive.

A. Cost-of-living adjustments are based on changes in the CPI-W (Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) and are applied uniformly to the annuities of retirees and survivors, regardless of where they live.  To treat those who are living outside the U.S. any differently would require a change in the law. To the best of my knowledge, no consideration has ever been given to doing that.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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