Retired Old Plan Safety Members

Basic COLA

If you retired under a SFERS’ Safety Old Plan, you may receive an automatic adjustment to your monthly retirement benefit on July 1st of each year known as the Basic COLA. For most current Old Plan retirees, the Basic COLA  is determined by selecting the higher of:

  • The average of the maximum rates of compensation paid to safety officers in cities across the State of California with a population of 350,000 or greater (per a survey conducted by the Board of Supervisors based on federal census data); or
  • The rate of salary increase stated in the Memorandum of Operation (MOU)

Basic COLA Calculation

  • For safety members who retired before July 1, 1975 (Proposition H members), the Basic COLA is based on 50% of the percentage increase in the salary of the rank or position from which he/she retired.
  • For safety members who retired on or after July 1, 1975 (Proposition M members), the Basic COLA is based on 50% of the actual dollar increase in the salary of the rank or position from which he/she retired.
  • While the Basic COLA is effective July 1st of each year, it is paid in the October 31st monthly allowance.

Supplemental COLA

An additional adjustment may be paid along with the Basic COLA, following years when there are sufficient excess investment earnings on the Retirement Fund. This additional adjustment is called the Supplemental COLA. The Supplemental COLA is not payable to all retirees when the Retirement System is less than fully funded based on the market value of assets.

  • The Supplemental COLA is effective July 1 in years when it is paid
  • The Supplemental COLA can be paid in increments of 0.5%
  • When combined with the Basic COLA, the Supplemental COLA can increase your monthly retirement benefit up to a maximum of 3.5% over your previous June 30 retirement allowance
  • In years when a Supplemental COLA is paid, if the Basic COLA increase equals or exceeds the 3.5% maximum COLA provision, the member will receive only the Basic COLA increase for that year
  • In any year that a Supplemental COLA is not paid, members hired before January 7, 2012 will continue to receive the Supplemental COLAs paid in previous years
  • When paid, the Supplemental COLA is always paid in the allowance dated February 28th (or 29th) in the year following the July 1st effective date
  • If you are eligible to receive the Supplemental COLA, your February allowance will include seven months of retroactive Supplemental COLA pay (July through January), plus the regular February allowance which includes the Supplemental COLA increase.
  • Your allowance dated March 31st will reflect the actual amount of your monthly allowance (includes Basic and Supplemental COLAs that were effective July 1st of the prior year)


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