Cost-of-living allowances and FERS special category retirees


Q. I just received a FERS retirement benefit statement. One of the comments made on the statement is: “A FERS annuity shows a loss in purchasing power because it is not fully protected against inflation after retirement (unless you retired from a special category such as law enforcement or firefighter).” As a law enforcement officer under the special retirement provisions, what is the cost of living allowance? I will be 57 at the time of retirement. I did find something that indicates I will get the cost-of-living adjustment starting right away while regular FERS retirees must wait until they are 62, but I did not see if the normal cost-of-living adjustments under FERS apply to me. Is it full like CSRS or the same, but earlier, for FERS special?

A. While most FERS retirees must wait until age 62 to receive cost-of-living adjustments, special category employees, such as law enforcement officers and firefighters, can receive COLAs at any age. The latter can also begin receiving the special retirement supplement when they retire, while other FERS retirees must wait until they reach their minimum retirement age, which ranges between 55 and 57, depending on the year of birth.


About Author

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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