The increase applies only to annuity benefits for retirees, not to the salaries of current federal employees. Retiree COLAs are set automatically by an inflation index whose annual count concluded with the announcement Tuesday of figures through September.
In contrast, current employees receive pay raises set through the annual government budget process. No decision has been reached regarding a January 2021 raise.
President Trump has recommended a 1 percent pay raise while Congress so far has taken no position. If no figure is enacted into law by the end of the year, that amount will take effect automatically. Some members of Congress continue to advocate for increasing the figure to 3 percent to match the planned raise for military personnel.
For retirees, some COLA policies vary depending on which of the two main federal retirement systems applies to them.
All of those retired under the Civil Service Retirement System, applying