The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently announced a 1.6 percent increase in the Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA) for the calendar year 2020. This directly affects military and federal civilian retirees, survivor benefit annuitants, disabled veterans and Social Security recipients.

The new COLA rate is effective Dec. 1, 2019 and the adjustment will appear in the Dec. 30, 2019 payment. By law, COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W).

It is a broad measure of consumer prices that is generated by the BLS from the third quarter of the previous year to the third quarter of the current year. The CPI measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education.

Since 2008, the annual COLA has been above two percent only once and has been zero three times. COLAs have been averaging 1.4 percent over the last decade. Last year's COLA (2.8 percent) was the first big increase since 2012, when it was 3.6 percent. In 2018 the COLA increase was two percent and in 2017 it was 0.3 percent.

For more information, contact Sandra at the Veterans Service Office at 602 Strong Ave on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or call 365-3612.