NYSLRS Retirees: 1% COLA Increase Coming September 30

If you’re a New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) retiree, you may be eligible for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this September. A COLA payment permanently increases your NYSLRS retirement benefit. It’s based on the cost-of-living index, and is designed to address inflation as it occurs. The September 2016 COLA increase equals 1 percent, for a maximum annual increase of $180.00, or $15.00 per month before taxes. Please note, for most retirees, there are other reductions, such as health insurance, which may offset the COLA increase.

How is the COLA Calculated?

The COLA is calculated based on 50 percent of the annual rate of inflation, measured at the end of the fiscal year (on March 31). It cannot be less than 1 percent or greater than 3 percent of your retirement benefit. This year, since the rate of inflation was less than 1 percent, the COLA increase equals 1 percent. The COLA is calculated using the first $18,000 of the annual Single Life Allowance pension (even if you selected a different payment option), or your actual pension, if it’s less than $18,000.

Who Is Eligible for a COLA?

To receive the COLA, you must be:

  • Age 62 or older and retired for five or more years; or
  • Age 55 or older and retired for ten or more years (for uniformed employees such as police officers, firefighters and correction officers covered by a special plan that allows for retirement, regardless of age, after a specific number of years); or
  • A disability retiree for five years; or
  • The spouse of a deceased retiree receiving a lifetime benefit under an option elected by the retiree at retirement. (Eligible spouses are entitled to half the COLA amount that would have been paid to the retiree when the retiree was eligible); or
  • A beneficiary receiving the accidental death benefit for five or more years on behalf of a deceased NYSLRS member.


The NYSLRS COLA is different than the Social Security Administration (SSA) COLA. For 2016, the SSA didn’t provide a COLA adjustment for almost 65 million Social Security recipients.

If you want to learn more about COLA, read our publication, Permanent COLA.

4 thoughts on “NYSLRS Retirees: 1% COLA Increase Coming September 30

  1. Hilary

    The average increase in 2020 will be less than 1%. That is because only the first $18,000 max is given the increase. If you have a $36K annual pension, your actual increase will be only 1/2 of 1 percent! The NYS COLA for State retirees is not really a cost of living increase! It should be applied to your total pension payment as Social Security is, up to a reasonable maximum monthly benefit. Why do they call this a COLA, when it is not?

    1. NYSLRS

      Retirement benefits, including COLA, are established by law. The decision on whether to enact new laws comes from the State Legislature and the Governor.

      The State Legislature would need to pass a bill and the Governor would need to sign it into law in order to increase the $18,000 COLA calculation amount.

    1. NYSLRS

      For eligible retirees, the September 2016 COLA increase is equal to a maximum increase of $180.00, or $15.00 per month, before taxes. There are other reductions, such as health insurance, which may offset the COLA increase.

      Unfortunately, the NYSLRS Social Media team does not have access to your retirement account information. In order to get you the account-specific information you need about your COLA increase, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.


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