Q: Please tell me why President Obama is not giving a higher pay raise to federal retirees. Current federal employees are getting a higher pay raise than retirees and it is not fair. We have bills we have to pay also.
A: The amount of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for Social Security and federal retirees is determined through a formula governed by law. It is not within the authority of the president to make that change. It would have to be done by Congress.
Current federal employees do not receive a COLA, only the pay raise. Both are calculated differently; the COLA is automatic whereas the pay raise for current federal workers is determined through political process. In some years the COLA is higher; in others the pay raise comes out higher.
We have posted many articles on FedSmith.com about the COLA and pay raise process for both federal retirees and current federal employees, respectively. You can use the search form located at the top right hand side of this or any page to quickly locate articles by keyword(s). I’ve also included examples of some past articles below that offer more detail about how these figures are determined.