Q. Is there is a COLA penalty if I retire before 62, or do we get the full COLA as everyone else?

A. When a COLA is paid — and in what amount — depends on which retirement system you are in. If you are a CSRS retiree, you receive the full COLA amount regardless of the age at which you retire. If you are a FERS retiree, you won’t receive a COLA until you reach age 62. And when you do receive a COLA, it will be less than CSRS retirees receive if the adjustment is greater than 2 percent.


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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

1 Comment

  1. Elaine Lumsden on

    Unless the retiree is under special provisions and then the FERS COLA is payable immediately upon retirement.

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