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Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

General information

Helpful Information if You Are Retired

The cost of living adjustment (COLA) is limited to a maximum annual increase or decrease set by the Board of Retirement and your plan limits.

The COLA is effective April 1, and any adjustments will appear on your April statement advice.

If the change in the CPI is negative due to deflation, your retirement benefit will be decreased, but it will never be decreased below the original benefit amount granted at retirement.

How the COLA Amount is Determined

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.  Depending on how much the COLA is, your plan could limit the COLA. The COLA limits are:

  • 2% for Plans 4, 5, 6, and 7
  • 3% for Plan 2 and Probation Plan 1
  • 5% for General and Safety Plan 1

Plan 3 does not provide a COLA.

To find the current COLA percentage for your plan, check the bottom of this page.

How to Find the Amount of Your COLA

To find the actual dollar amount of your monthly COLA amount, review your check stub (also called a “deposit advice”) or login to MySamCERA. The COLA amount will be shown. 


This year's cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be 2.0% or 3.0% for most eligible retirees and beneficiaries.

Because of an inflation rise in 2016, most SamCERA retirees and beneficiaries will receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of either 2.0% or 3.0% this year.

The COLA applies to eligible retirees and beneficiaries retired on or before April 1, 2017, and the amount of the COLA will depend on the retirement plan. The COLA for Plan 1 and Plan 2 is 3.0%, 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 2017 benefit payments.