Social Security vs. Federal Employees: Cumulative Pay Increases
by Robert F. Benson |
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|
|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 (%)|
|Huntsville||51,297||74,592||45.4 = Social Security|
|Miami – Ft. Lauderdale||52,358||77,658||48.3|
|Minneapolis – St. Paul||52,074||77,768||49.3|
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
* includes both general increase and locality increase for Washington, D.C.
** GS-12 step 3
© 2013 Robert F. Benson. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Robert F. Benson.