Letter to the Editor: Pension COLAs

At the time of my retirement, in 1993, from the Upper Merion Area School District, I was informed by my retirement system, Pennsylvania Schools Employees Retirement System (PSERS) that I could expect to receive a cost of living allowance (COLA) every five years. Thus far, I have received two; one in 1998, and one in 2003. The retirees from PSERS have not received a COLA in 10 years.

In order for us to receive a COLA, the legislature and the governor have to approve the cost of living allowance while in session. The governor and the members of the legislature enjoy a COLA automatically every year, yet they have ignored our pleas for an increase for 10 years. How would you like to live on an income that is 10 years old in todays economy?

It has become obvious that the politicians in Pennsylvania, and I might as well include Washington, D.C., have no compassion nor sympathy for senior citizens. The fact that President Obama froze Social Security COLAs in 2010 and 2011 did not help matters either. As a result of this depredation of income, I find myself shopping at Walmart and dining at Burger King instead of enjoying my golden years in retirement.

Over the past 10 years, the governors and the legislatures in PA have passed laws that lead to the underfunding of our retirement system (PSERS) to the point that PSERS is presently underfunded by $44 billion. Come on taxpayers of PA, lets tell our politicians to stop acting like ostriches and get their heads out of the ground.


Leon Novak