By Molly Friedman, Attorney
As occurs each year, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSPRS) has announced the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) rate.
The COLA rate of 4.698% becomes effective July 1, 2022. This is a noticeable increase from the 2021 COLA. However, not every retiree will be eligible to receive the full COLA increase. How much your benefits actually increase may depend of the State system you worked for, and the dates of your creditable service.
In order to qualify for the annual COLA, an individual must have been retired for a minimum of 1 year as of July 1, 2022. This means you must have retired on June 30, 2021 or earlier. The rate of the annual COLA is determined based upon changes in the Consumer Price Index as of December 31st of the previous year and the rate of return of Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS) funds.
If you are an eligible retired State of Maryland Employee, the impact of the annual COLA increase on your benefit amount depends on your benefit system. For most retirees, the COLA increase is applied to your current benefit amount. This allows for your benefits to continually increase with each COLA. For retirees under the Local Fire and Police System and Employee’s Non-Contributory Pension System, the annual COLA is calculated using the initial retirement allowance.
Many of the benefit systems have a statutory rate cap. This means that the increase applied to your benefits cannot exceed a certain amount, regardless of the state wide COLA. Impacted individuals include retirees in the following benefit systems: Correctional Officer’s Retirement System; Employee and Teacher’s Pension Systems; Employees’ and Teachers’ Pension System; Employees and Teachers’ Retirement Systems (bi-furcated payees); Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System; Local Fire and Police System; and State Police Retirement System. Additionally, individuals who transferred between systems may be impacted different than others in their benefit system.
For example, members of the Correctional Officers’ Retirement System will receive a 4.698% COLA increase on the portion of the allowance based on creditable service earned before July 1, 2011 and 2.5% on the portion earned for creditable service earned on or after July 1, 2011. Individuals who are part of the Employee’s and Teachers’ Retirement System will receive the entire 4.698% COLA increase, with the exception of bi-furcated payees, who will receive 4.698 on the portion of the allowance based on creditable service before they elected to bi-furcate, and 3% on the portion earned after they elected to bi-furcate.
Regardless of whether you are subject to a statutory cap for all or part of your benefits, the upshot is that your benefit amount will be increasing. Which is good news for everyone!
State of Maryland employees who retired on or after July 1, 2022 will be eligible for the annual COLA beginning July 2023. Further details regarding the COLA increase for July 2021 will be available closer to that time. Here are the law firm of Andalman & Flynn, P.C., we’ve successfully helped hundreds of State of Maryland employees obtain disability retirement. We are happy to answer any questions regarding your State of Maryland Disability Retirement.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The firm represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country and practices family law throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at andalmanflynn.com or call 301.563.6685.