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This year's cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be 2.0% or 2.5% for most eligible retirees and beneficiaries.


Because of an inflation rise in 2015, most SamCERA retirees and beneficiaries will receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of either 2.0% or 2.5% this year.

The COLA applies to eligible retirees and beneficiaries retired on or before April 1, 2016, and the amount of the COLA will depend on the retirement plan. The COLA for Plan 1 and Plan 2 is 2.5%, while the COLA for Plans 4, 5, 6 and 7 is 2.0%. Plan 3 does not provide a COLA.

All COLAs will be paid beginning with the April 2016 benefit payments.

Current employees considering retirement: If you want to take advantage of this year’s COLA rate, you must retire on or before April 1. If you’re thinking about retirement, contact SamCERA as soon as possible so your paperwork can be processed in time for you to receive your first retirement benefit check on April 30.

2016 SamCERA COLAs

Retirement Plan COLA
Plan 1 2.5%
Plan 2 2.5%
Plan 3 None
Plan 4 2.0%
Plan 5 2.0%
Plan 6 2.0%
Plan 7 2.0%

Current COLA amounts apply to members and beneficiaries retired on or before April 1, 2016.

How COLA is Calculated

SamCERA’s COLAs are calculated according to California law, which requires them to be based on the change in the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area (as determined by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics). The law also requires the amount to be rounded to the nearest one-half of one percent. This year, since the index increased 2.61%, the nearest one-half of one percent is 2.5%. The maximum allowable COLA for Plans 4, 5, 6 and 7 is always 2.0%. These COLA amounts are validated by SamCERA’s actuarial firm, Milliman, Inc.

Remember, annual COLAs can increase or decrease depending on whether the Bay Area experiences inflation or deflation, but your pension will never go below the basic benefit allowance you received when you retired.