WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement regarding the announcement that federal retirees and Social Security recipients will see no cost-of-living adjustment in January:
“The absence of cost-of-living adjustments for federal retirees and Social Security recipients will cause a large decline in living standards starting in 2016.
“More than 2.5 million federal retirees depend on annual cost-of-living adjustments to help their modest pensions keep pace with inflation, while federal retirees under the newer Federal Employees Retirement System also count on the COLA increase for their Social Security checks.
“The prices for many items that seniors must purchase is rising faster than the overall inflation rate. The most important of these are health insurance premiums. Enrollee premiums in the federal employee health benefits program will rise 7.4% next year.
“But the lack of a cost-of-living adjustment may also mean a double whammy to federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System. Unless Congress acts to extend to all retirees the ‘hold harmless’ provision that protects Social Security recipients from Medicare Part B premium increases when there’s no COLA, they and other Medicare Part B recipients will have to cover the entire increase in Medicare Part B’s costs next year. That means CSRS retirees’ Medicare Part B premiums could more than double next year.
“This is unacceptable, and AFGE urges Congress to move forward with a legislative fix to protect CSRS retirees from increases in Medicare Part B premiums.”