What you need to know about the pension COLA

Gov. Sununu signed HB 616 in a ceremony Friday in Manchester

Late last week, Gov. Chris Sununu signed HB 616 into law, granting the first permanent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to public retirees since 2010. There are a couple of caveats for this 1.5 percent COLA that will impact if and when a New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS) member will receive it.

In 2018, the Legislature authorized a one-time payment to some retirees. However, this payment was not applied to base – meaning it was only a one-year benefit. HB 616, which was sponsored by Rep. Dianne Schuett, provides for a real COLA that will benefit pensioners going forward. 

Who’s eligible: NHRS members must have retired before July 1, 2014, to be eligible for this COLA. The 1.5 percent COLA will apply only to the first $50,000 of a retiree’s annual pension benefit.

When it goes into effect: The COLA will take effect on a rolling basis, starting after July 1, 2020, based on your retirement date. For example, if you retired in the month of August 2013 (or any prior August), you would receive the COLA in August 2020. If you retired in June 2014 (or any prior June), you would receive the COLA in June 2021.  

NHRS has a helpful FAQ about this COLA on its website. You can also contact NHRS directly at info@nhrs.org or (603) 410-3671. 

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