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Who is Eligible to receive a COLA in 2016?

Members of fifty-eight municipal pension plans will receive cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) in 2016. Click here for a list of the MERS plans providing a COLA.

For all members of these 58 plans who retired before June 30, 2012 and were previously receiving or eligible for a COLA - you will receive a COLA beginning the month following your retirement date in 2016.

For general MERS members of these plans who retired after June 30, 2012 – you will be eligible to receive a COLA three years after your retirement date or at your Social Security Normal Retirement Age, whichever is later.

For Police and Fire MERS members of these plans who retired between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2015 – you will be eligible to receive a COLA three years after your retirement date or when you reach age 55, whichever is later. 

For Police and Fire MERS members of these plans who retired after June 30, 2015 - you will be eligible to receive a COLA
 three years after your retirement date or when you reach age 50, whichever is later.

How is your COLA calculated?


Eligible retirees of these 58 plans will see an increase of 0.94 percent on the first $25,855 of their annual pension benefit for calendar year 2016.

For example: if your pension benefit is $40,000 per year the COLA will be calculated by multiplying $25,855 by 0.94% and adding that number to your $40,000 annual benefit.

$25,855 X 0.0094 + $40,000 = $40,243.04
 

How do we determine which plans get COLAs and which plans do not?


Municipal plans that are part of MERS, and have adopted a COLA provision, provide a COLA when the actuary determines the individual plan is at least 80% funded as of June 30, 2015. Plans that are not 80% funded do not provide a COLA to members.

Recipients of the Teachers' Survivor Benefit (TSB) will not receive a COLA this year because the Social Security Administration did not issue a COLA. 
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Note: This information is prepared exclusively for use by members of the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island. It is not intended as a substitute for the Rhode Island General Laws (R.I.G.L.) nor will its interpretation prevail should a conflict arise between the contents of this summary and R.I.G.L. s. Rules governing retirement are subject to change periodically either by statute of the Rhode Island Legislature or by regulation of ERSRI.