Eligible retirees receiving a monthly NYSTRS benefit will receive a 1.0% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning with their September 2015 payment. COLAs are a result of legislation enacted in New York 15 years ago.
This COLA will bring the cumulative maximum monthly increase to $297 for eligible retired members. Stated differently, without the 2001 legislation, long-time retirees receiving a NYSTRS retirement benefit would have almost $300 less in their pension check each month. The legislated COLA increase has helped dampen the effects of inflation for retirees.
By law, the COLA is applied to the first $18,000 of a benefit. As a result, an eligible retired member with an annual benefit of at least $18,000 will receive a maximum increase of $15 per month. Retirees who become eligible for the COLA after September will receive their adjustment when first eligible.
To be eligible for a COLA, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- At least 62 and retired at least five years; OR,
- At least 55 and retired at least 10 years; OR,
- A retiree receiving a NYSTRS disability benefit for at least five years (regardless of age); OR,
- A surviving spouse of an eligible retiree receiving a lifetime benefit. (By law, the spouse receives an increase equal to one-half the COLA the retiree would have received.)