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Thirteen Years of Increases for Employees vs. FERS and CSRS

Employees and retirees live in the same environments and are subject to the same increases in the cost of living, but the general, annual raise they get is different. The author outlines sample annual raises for three hypothetical employees.

Employees and retirees live in the same environments and are subject to the same increases in the cost of living, but the general, annual raise they get is different.  The same is true of FERS and CSRS retirees – same cost increases but different raises.  With this in mind, below is data for three hypothetical persons.

In December of 1999 each had the same annual compensation:  $30,000.  The active employee was in step 10 of his grade; for comparability purposes he stayed in the same geographical area and he was not promoted, for the entire time since then.  The retirees, too, were receiving $30,000 per annum, with one being FERS and the other CSRS.

Retiree Increase (%) Increased Compensation
Year Employee Increase (%) FERS CSRS Employee FERS Ret. CSRS Ret.
2000 3.8 2.0 2.5 $31,140 $30,600 $30,750
2001 2.7 2.5 3.5 $31,981 $31,365 $31,826
2002 4.6 2.0 2.6 $33,452 $31,992 $32,653
2003 3.1 1.4 1.4 $34,489 $32,440 $33,110
2004 2.7 2.0 2.1 $35,420 $33,089 $33,805
2005 2.5 2.0 2.7 $36,305 $33,751 $34,718
2006 2.1 3.1 4.1 $37,067 $34,797 $36,141
2007 1.7 2.3 3.3 $37,697 $35,597 $37,334
2008 2.5 2.0 2.3 $38,639 $36,309 $38,193
2009 2.9 4.8 5.8 $39,760 $38,052 $40,408
2010 1.5 0.0 0.0 $40,356 $38,052 $40,408
2011 0.0 0.0 0.0 $40,356 $38,052 $40,408
2012 0.0 2.6 3.6 $40,356 $39,041 $41,862
Cumulative percent increase 34.52 30.13 39.54

Note:  if the FERS retiree had been less than 62 at retirement, he would have received less.  FERS retirees under 62 do not receive COLA increases.

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.