Social Security vs. Federal Employees: Cumulative Pay Increases

By • April 9, 2013

Over the years, Social Security retirees have seen their payments rise more than the salaries of Federal employees. Correct? In 2011, both feds and Social Security retirees received no increase, but in 2012, Social Security payments went up 3.6% and in 2013 their increase was 1.7%; while the comparable figures for feds were -0-% and -0-%-. In this three-year period, Social Security recipients are definitely ahead of feds.

However, if you look at the cumulative raises for all years since 1999, the story is different:

Year Employee Increase* Salary** Social Security Increase Benefit
1999 3.68% $52,049 1.3% $1,000
2000 4.94% 54,618 2.4% 1,024
2001 3.81% 56,699 3.5% 1,060
2002 4.77% 59,407 2.6% 1,087
2003 4.27% 61,942 1.4% 1,131
2004 4.42% 64,680 2.1% 1,155
2005 3.71% 67,077 2.7% 1,186
2006 3.44% 69,384 4.1% 1,234
2007 2.64% 71,219 3.3% 1,275
2008 4.49% 74,416 2.3% 1,304
2009 4.78% 77,973 5.8% 1,380
2010 2.42% 79,864 0.0% 1,380
2011 0.0% 79,864 0.0% 1,380
2012 0.0% 79,864 3.6% 1,430
2013 0.0% 79,864 + 53.4% 1.7% 1,454 + 45.4%

Cumulatively, over a 14-year time span, Social Security recipients gained 45.4% while Federal employees’ salaries (in Washington, D.C. ) increased 53.4%.

Above is for Federal employees in the Washington, D.C. area. How much did the GS-12/3 salary increase in other localities?

Locality 1999 2013 Cumulative Increase (%)
Indianapolis $51,186 $73,730 44.0
Dayton 51,470 74,733 45.2
Columbus 51,852 75,325 45.3
Pittsburgh 51,475 74,817 45.3
Huntsville 51,297 74,592 45.4 = Social Security
Richmond 51,441 74,881 45.6
Cincinnati 52,262 76,218 45.8
Milwaukee 51,504 75,929 47.4
Cleveland 51,591 76,302 47.9
Miami – Ft. Lauderdale 52,358 77,658 48.3
Portland 52,016 77,375 48.8
Atlanta 51,470 76,694 49.0
Minneapolis – St. Paul 52,074 77,768 49.3
Denver 52,672 78,771 49.5
Dallas 51,856 77,581 49.6
Philadelphia 52,257 78,301 49.8
Detroit 53,140 79,780 50.1
Seattle-Tacoma 52,093 78,314 50.3
Sacramento 52,242 78,565 50.4
Chicago 53,068 80,429 51.6
Houston 54,486 82,750 51.9
San Diego 52,411 79,844 52.3
Los Angeles 53,627 81,754 52.4
Hartford 53,005 80,892 52.6
Boston 52,479 80,236 52.9
Washington, D.C. 52,049 79,864 53.4
New York 53,343 82,757 55.1
San Francisco 54,554 86,891 59.3

Why are the increases different? The annual increase for Social Security is calculated using a predetermined process set by public law, a process that uses objective, known factors such as the CPI (Consumer Price Index). In contrast, for Federal employees, the pay raise each year is political – that is, the White House decides how much the general and locality increases will be, with limited review by Congress.

My website for calculation of Federal benefits is here

References:

http://archive.opm.gov/oca/12tables/index.asp
http://www.ssa.gov

*  includes both general increase and locality increase for Washington, D.C.

** GS-12 step 3

© 2014 Robert F. Benson. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Robert F. Benson.

Tags: ,

About the Author (  |   )

Robert Benson served 35 years in various Federal agencies, as both a management analyst and IT specialist. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and developed the software at fedbens.us.

Comments

If you are an Internet Explorer user, please note that Disqus may not render properly in compatability view mode.

Free Email Updates

Sign up for our free email updates to get our latest news sent directly to your inbox
  • Our top stories sent each business day
  • More news from your FedSmith.com authors
  • The day's closing prices for the TSP funds
  • Videos for the federal workforce