Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)


The Cost of Living Adjustments is an increase made to your retirement allowance every April 1. Each year, the change from December to December in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) is rounded to the nearest half percent and becomes the COLA amount.

Annual COLA Date

April 1

Maximum Annual COLA

Tier 1 and Tier 3 3%
Tier 2 and Tier 4 2%

2019–2020 CPI Change


2021 COLA Increase

Tier 1 and Tier 3 Retired on or before 04/01/19 3.0%
Tier 1 and Tier 3 Retired 04/02/19 – 04/01/21 2.0%
Tier 2 and Tier 4 Retired on or before 04/01/21 2.0%

COLA Reflected In Retirement Payment

April 30, 2021

More COLA Info

COLA Maximums and the COLA Bank

The maximum statutory annual COLA increase is 3% for Tier 1 and 3 members and 2% for Tier 2 and 4 members. In years where the CPI increase is greater than these percentages, the difference between your maximum and the rounded CPI increase is automatically banked for future years. The banked percentage is used in years when the COLA is less than the maximum. 

New Retirees

If your first day of retirement is April 1 or before, you will get the COLA for that year. If your first day of retirement is April 2 or after, you’ll have to wait for next year’s COLA.

Long-Time Retirees and the Supplemental COLA

Many long-time retirees will be eligible for an additional non-vested Supplemental COLA.

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

The CPI is a measure of price inflation. Specifically, it is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services such as food, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, and education. The CPI is measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which produces CPI figures for the U.S as a whole and for major urban areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area. ACERA bases its COLA on the change in CPI for the Bay Area from December to December.