Retirement benefit cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are determined by the consumer price indexes calculated and maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the changes in prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households. We update this page in early March of each year.
Separate indexes are produced for regional urban areas and the nation as a whole. Indexes are further specified "all urban consumers" (CPI-U), and "urban wage-earners and clerical workers" (CPI-W). The indexes below are used to determine annual benefit increases for Plan 2 and 3, the Washington State Patrol, and a handful of Plan 1 retirees who selected a benefit payment option that provides a Plan 2-style COLA.
Effective in January 2018, the BLS made geographic revisions to certain consumer price indices. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton CPI currently used in calculating the COLA for certain plans includes the counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Island, Kitsap, and Thurston. This index has been renamed the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue CPI and no longer contains the counties of Island, Kitsap, and Thurston. The BLS has already taken steps in updating the naming convention of the Seattle area CPI on their website. These changes are not reflected in the indexes below and do not impact the COLAs payable in 2018.