COLA Watch

COLA Watch image

Welcome to MOAA’s COLA Watch page, where you’ll find a monthly update on the inflation figures used to set the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for payments received by military retirees, disabled veterans, Social Security beneficiaries, and many others receiving federal compensation.

The Latest

The May 2023 Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), released June 13, was 298.382, 2.2% above the FY 2023 baseline of 291.901. The next CPI-W release is set for July 12.

The CPI-W figures from the end of this fiscal year (July, August, and September 2023) will be compared to the FY 2023 COLA baseline to calculate the 2024 COLA (see "How Your COLA Is Calculated," below).

[RELATED: Be Ready for a Lower COLA in 2024]

The Backstory

Why does MOAA track the monthly CPI-W release? Protecting the value of service-earned benefits has long been a pillar of MOAA’s advocacy. MOAA has led previous efforts to rebuff budget plans seeking to reduce or eliminate COLA for military retirees, many of which have taken root shortly after large increases.

The nature of a higher COLA is to preserve purchasing power for retirees, VA beneficiaries, and surviving spouses – not to fund other government programs.

[JOIN THE FIGHT: Visit MOAA’s Legislative Action Center]

The Chart


The 2023 COLA

The 2023 COLA is 8.7%.

The FY 2023 COLA baseline of 291.901, compared with the FY 2022 baseline of 268.421, results in the above percentage increase. This baseline is determined by averaging the monthly CPI-W for the final three months of the fiscal year (July, August, September).

The September 2022 CPI-W, released Oct. 13, is 291.854, which is also 8.7% above the FY 2022 COLA baseline.

The Math: How Your COLA Is Calculated

The yearly cost-of-living adjustment is made by comparing the average CPI-W from monthly reports in July, August, and September of the current fiscal year to the average for the same months of the year prior. MOAA also provides a regular calculation for the monthly COLA change: (Monthly CPI-Yearly baseline CPI)/Yearly baseline CPI.

Remember, active duty pay raises are calculated differently. Learn more about CPI on the BLS web page.

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