Cost of Living Adjustment (“COLA”) for Fiscal Year 2022

Date: May 14, 2021


At its May 14, 2021 meeting, SDCERS’ Board of Administration approved the Cost of Living Adjustment (“COLA”) that will be applied to eligible SDCERS retirees’ (including active DROP participants) monthly pension benefit amount from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. You will receive a COLA for Fiscal Year 2022 if your retirement or DROP entry date is on or before June 30, 2021.
Per San Diego Municipal Code section 24.1505 and section 1301 of the Port and Airport Plans, the COLA is calculated every year based on the change in the cost of living between the two previous Decembers, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (“CPI”), United States – All items. However, the maximum allowable increase in any given year is 2.0%.
In years where the COLA is greater than the maximum 2.0% (such as last year), the amount over 2% is added to what is called a “COLA bank.” A retiree’s COLA bank accumulates based on their fiscal year of retirement (or DROP entry), and each annual retiree group has its own COLA bank. In years that the CPI’s published COLA is less than 2%, each retiree group’s COLA bank may be able to increase the actual COLA received by the retiree up to a maximum of 2%, if that retiree group’s COLA bank has accrued enough funds from years where the published COLA was greater than 2%.
According to the CPI, the change in cost of living between December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020 was 1.362%. Due to the fact that this year’s COLA is less than 2%, different COLAs were approved for different retiree groups, depending on the member’s retirement (or DROP entry) date and COLA bank, as follows:

Retirement or DROP Entry Date

FY 2022 COLA

Before 7/1/2005


Between 7/1/2005 and 6/30/2017


Between 7/1/2017 and 6/30/2020


Between 7/1/2020 and 6/30/2021


The two members who are in the 1981 retirement plan will receive a COLA increase of 0.8%.
If you are eligible to receive a Fiscal Year 2022 COLA, the applicable increase will be reflected in your July 2021 pension payment.

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