Military retirees, survivors to see 1.6% COLA boost in 2020

By STARS AND STRIPES | | Published: November 7, 2019

WASHINGTON — Military retirees and eligible survivors will receive a 1.6% boost in their monthly pay beginning in January based on the Pentagon’s annual cost of living adjustment, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

The increased pay will be doled out to most military retirees, survivors of service members who died on active or inactive duty and survivors of retirees who participated in the Survivor Benefit Plan, which pays the family of someone who opted for monthly annuities following the death of an eligible military retiree. The 2020 adjustment is less than last year’s 2.8% increase, but it is comparable to adjustments in other recent years.

The Pentagon said the annual boosts are based on inflation numbers during the previous year as determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, a monthly measure of average changes to prices for goods and services across the nation.

A service member who retired under the Military Retirement Reform Act, which is commonly known as REDUX, will receive a 0.6% increase. A service member who retired from the military in 2019 will receive a slightly different adjustment, according to a Pentagon statement.

Service members who retired in 2019 and joined the military before 1980 will see a 1.6% boost as will most others, according to Pentagon documents. For service members who joined the military after 1980, most of them will still see the 1.6% boost, but individuals who retired between July 1 and Sept. 30 will receive only a 0.2% increase and those who retired after Oct. 1 will not receive a cost of living adjustment in 2020, according to the documents.

For retirees and survivors receiving the 1.6% boost, the increase amounts to an extra $16 for every $1,000 in government benefits received. Individuals who retired at the rank of E-7 and served 20 years will see about $38 extra per month. An individual who retired at the rank of O-5 and also served 20 years will see a $72 boost each month of 2020.

Twitter: @CDicksteinDC

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