Posted on Saturday, 15th April 2023 by

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Last year’s 8.7% COLA increase was the highest in over 40 years. Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitants received the full 8.7% while Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) annuitants received 7.7%. Next year’s COLA may be disappointingly low even when it seems our costs for just about everything continue to skyrocket.

I just returned from the grocery store and can’t believe how high prices are for even the basic food staples. A can of Campbells soup was $2.48! I recall going to the store in my youth and buying ten cans of tomato soup for one dollar!

Home owner’s insurance premiums are rising, coastal properties are expecting increases of 50 to 200% or more this year. Gasoline costs more, my natural gas bill doubled last winter and electric followed suit with a substantial increase. The average consumer, and especially retirees on fixed incomes are suffering through this with little if any relief coming their way.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on 12 April 2023 that the US National Inflation Average increased by 5.0 percent over the past 12 months.

2024 COLA Estimated Increase

According to Wilbert J Morell III, a retired Navy Engineering Project manager that tracks these statistics monthly, “If the CPI-W remains constant at 296.021 between now and 30 September 2023, the 2024 COLA for Social Security, CSRS, and FERS effective on 1 December 2023 will be 1.4%. If the CPI-W trend continues to increase at 0.3% every month through 30 September 2023, the CPI Average for July-August 2023 will be 301.390 and the 2024 COLA for Social Security and CSRS will be 2.9%, and the FERS COLA will be 2.0%.”

The Senior Citizens League states, “If inflation continues to fall at the current rate, it appears that the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2024 will be lower than 3%.”

New Beneficiary Designation Form

OPM issued an updated Beneficiary Designation Form SF-3102 in October of 2022. The new version replaces the previously issued SF-3102 form used exclusively for FERS employees, and the CSRS SF-2808 forms. All employees and retirees must use the new consolidated form after April 30th of this year.

OPM will accept pending retirement applications with the properly completed previous version of this form and the SF-2808 until April 30, 2023.

This Designation of Beneficiary Form is used to designate who is to receive a lump-sum payment which may become payable under CSRS or FERS.

Previously Certified Forms

Certified versions of the SF 3102 and SF-2808 Forms submitted on or before April 30, 2023, are acceptable. For example, a CSRS or FERS employee that retired before this cutoff date doesn’t have to submit new forms unless changes are necessary.

Other Beneficiary Election Forms

Don’t confuse this form with designation forms used for other types of benefits: Standard Form 2823, Designation of Beneficiary – Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Program; TSP-3, Thrift Savings Plan Designation of Beneficiary; or Standard Form 1152, Designation of Beneficiary – Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Civilian Employee.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.

The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Last 5 posts by Dennis Damp


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