Campaigning for COLAs
Millions of retirees live on pensions that have never been adjusted for increases in the cost of living. Over time, inflation can eat away at retirees’ pension benefits, diminishing their purchasing power. On a fixed income, a retiree’s ability to pay bills becomes more difficult as time passes.
The Pension Rights Center has worked with a number of grassroots activists who have fought to have cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) added to their pensions. Among the most successful are Kevin Mahar and the late Helen Quirini, of the GE Justice Fund. Read about Helen and Kevin’s efforts in our Profile of Helen.
Helen and Kevin learned early on that effective COLA Campaigns start with documenting the amount of 'surplus' assets in a pension plan, and showing the way the dollar value of pensions can be reduced by inflation during retirement.
Read our fact sheet to figure out how much the purchasing power of your benefit has been reduced since you retired and to learn how to determine if your pension plan has surplus assets that could be used to increase your pension.
To learn more about the issues that concern pension activists, sign up for PRC’s Pension Action e-newsletter.
Find out about other strategies pension activists have used to get an increase in their pensions.
Looking for help with your retirement plan?
If you have a problem with your retirement plan, free help may be available from the U.S. Administration on Aging's network of Pension Counseling and Information Projects. Find help now.
PensionHelp America connects people who need help with their pension, 401(k), and other retirement plans with the pension counseling projects, legal services providers, and government agencies that can help answer their questions. Visit www.pensionhelp.org.
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Retirement USA is a national initiative that is working for a new retirement system that, along with Social Security, will provide universal, secure, and adequate income for future retirees. Visit the website.