COLA or pay raise?


Q. Does a COLA get added to your current salary or starting salary? I’m working in San Diego and they have been adding it to my starting salary, then adjusting. Is that the correct way to adjust?

A. You haven’t received a cost-of-living adjustment. Only retirees receive COLAs. If you received a pay increase, it was an adjustment to your current rate of pay.


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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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