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Who is Eligible to Receive a ‘4-Year’ COLA in 2017?


Eligible retirees of Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI) and Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS) employers will receive a ‘4-Year’ Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) in 2017. Eligibility to receive a COLA depends on the type of COLA that an employer elected to provide and when the COLA went into effect.

The ‘4-Year’ COLA is provided to eligible retirees who are not currently receiving an Annual COLA. Individual MERS plans which are 80% or more funded that currently provide an Annual COLA will continue to provide an Annual COLA on the first $26,098 of a retiree’s pension benefit.

Per Rhode Island law, the ‘4-Year’ COLA is calculated based on equal parts of 50% of investment performance minus 5.50%, and 50% of inflation. The investment performance of pension fund, as calculated by ERSRI’s actuary is 5.51%. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which measures inflation, is calculated at 1.46%.  The 2017 ‘4-Year’ COLA for eligible retirees is 0.74% on the first $31,318 of an eligible member’s pension benefit, which equals $231.75.

To learn more about the '4-Year' COLA, who is eligible, how it is calculated, and when it will be paid, please click on the appropriate employer group below:

State Employees, Teachers, Judges and State Police Retirees
Municipal Employees' Retirement System Retirees (not including Police and Fire)
Municipal Employees' Retirement System: Police and Fire Retirees

For an overview of the 2017 '4-Year' COLA, please click here.

If you have specific questions about your eligibility, please contact ERSRI at (401) 462-7600. The ERSRI Customer Service Center is open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Who is Eligible to Receive an Annual COLA in 2017?

Eligible members of 58 Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS) pension plans will receive an Annual Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) in 2017.  Municipal plans that that have previously adopted a COLA provision will provide a COLA to eligible retirees if the individual plan was at least 80% funded as of June 30, 2016.

Per Rhode Island law, the Annual COLA is calculated based on equal parts of 50% of investment performance minus 5.50%, and 50% of inflation. The investment performance of pension fund, as calculated by ERSRI’s actuary is 5.51%. The percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which measures inflation, is calculated at 1.46%. The 2017 Annual COLA for eligible retirees is 0.74%.

To learn more about the Annual COLA, who is eligible, how it is calculated, and when it will be paid, please click here.

If you have specific questions about your eligibility, please contact ERSRI at (401) 462-7600. The ERSRI Customer Service Center is open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.


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.