Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Determining the COLA

Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA), up to a 2 percent increase, are given on April 1st of each year based on the increase or decrease in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of January 1st of each year (Government Code section 31870). The COLA is always rounded to the nearest one-half percent and will never exceed 2 percent. For example, if the CPI goes up by 1.34 percent, SBCERA's retirees and eligible beneficiaries receive a 1.5 percent COLA.

To find this figure go to www.bls.gov/cpi, go to the Regional Resources Map and select “Los Angeles,” then click “Go”. 

2017 COLA

On Thursday, February 2, 2017, the SBCERA Board of Retirement approved a 2.00% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for all SBCERA retirees and eligible beneficiaries.

Cost-of-living adjustments are established on April 1st of each year based on the increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of January 1st of that year, pursuant to Government Code section 31870. A cost-of-living adjustment is provided up to a maximum of 2.00% per year.

The current Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, for the Los Angeles area, for the year ended December 31, 2016, is 1.97% (250.189/245.357), rounded to the nearest one-half percent is 2.00%. To find this figure, go to www.bls.gov/cpi, go to the Regional Resources Map (scroll down, on right side of screen) and select “Los Angeles,” then click “Go.” For a background on cost-of-living adjustments, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Cost-of-Living Adjustments.

SBCERA retired members will be affected in the following manner:

  • Those members who have a retirement date on or before April 1, 2017, will receive a 2.00% COLA effective April 1, 2017. Since the maximum and actual COLA are the same, 2.00%, all COLA banks from the prior year will remain unchanged.

Typically, each year the Board of Retirement reviews and approves any applicable COLA at its February Board meeting. The COLA does compound each year

The COLA, if approved, is for all eligible retirees and beneficiaries including those earning service retirement benefits, disability retirement benefits, continuances, optional death allowances and/or modified optional death allowances. Active members who retire on or before April 1st of that year are also eligible for the COLA.

Recent COLA’s

Year

Approved COLA

Change in CPI

2017

2.00%

1.97%

2016

2.00%

2.03%

2015

.50%

.73%

2014

1.00%

1.14%

2013

2.00%

1.93%

2012

2.00%

2.17%

2011

1.50%

1.34%

2010

2.00%

1.83%

2009

0.00%

0.11%


The COLA Bank

Since members can only receive a maximum of a 2 percent increase, when the change is more than 2 percent or it goes down, the change is accumulated or “banked” to be met by the increases or decreases in future years. Therefore, these excess amounts can be applied in future years when the CPI change is below 2 percent. No CPI decrease will ever reduce your monthly retirement benefit below the base amount received as of your effective retirement date.

SBCERA’s Cost-of-Living-Adjustment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)