RALEIGH, N.C. (May 17, 2016) – North Carolina’s strong retirement benefits system brings great value to 300,000 deserving local and state government retirees. However, as lawmakers debate the state budget, many current and future government retirees worry that their benefits could be at risk. The North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association (NCRGEA) helps to protect these benefits, and a key priority for NCRGEA is Cost of Living Adjustments, or COLAs. In 2015, some local government retirees received a small COLA, while state government retirees did not receive any. It is confusing, and now, NCRGEA wants to help both local and state government retirees understand what this decision means for them.
“A COLA is designed to provide retirement security by protecting purchasing power from the effects of inflation,” explains Richard Rogers, Executive Director of NCRGEA. “If COLAs do not keep pace with inflation, many retirees are forced to make difficult choices between necessities such as food and medicine.”
During the 2015 legislative session in North Carolina, the House unsuccessfully proposed a two percent COLA for the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) and a one percent COLA for the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS) via House Bill 616, however it has yet to be passed. Just this week, the House budget proposed a 1.6 percent COLA for teachers and state government retirees.
“The House budget’s proposed COLA is a step in the right direction. However, with COLAs below the pace of inflation since 2008, we still have a lot of work to do to guarantee security for our retirees,” explains Rogers. He points out there are several key factors influencing the need for a COLA in 2016:
The North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association (NCRGEA) is a private non-profit association of local and state governmental retirees that focuses on helping you enjoy your retirement years by keeping you informed about retirement benefits, programs, and services. With membership over 66,000, NCRGEA is the largest lobbying Association in the nation for retired state and local governmental employees. The objectives and mission of this Association have been and will continue to advance, promote and defend by any lawful means the rights, interests and welfare of retired employees of the local governments and the State of North Carolina. For more information visit www.ncrgea.com.