If inflation returns to 1950s and '60s levels over the next few years, government retirees who are under age 62 could wind up getting bigger COLA (cost of living adjustments) than their older colleagues, and raises that actually exceed the cost of living.
In the Omnibus Reconciliation Act approved earlier this year, Congress moved to limit federal retirement outlays over the next three years by cutting pension increases for the million-plus federal and military retirees who are under age 62. The idea is to give them half of the COLA projected for older retirees.
But in putting a cap on younger retirees' raises, Congress also guaranteed them minimum increases -- even if inflation dips to the levels reached under Presidents Nixon and Johnson, and even if living costs are reversed, as happened briefly under Presidents Truman and Eisenhower.
The retirement-savings provisions Congress approved (in Public Law 97-253) project a 1983 COLA raise for over-62 federal-military retirees of 6.6 percent; a 1984 rise of 7.2 percent and another 6.6 percent in 1985. Under that law younger retirees would get only half the amount, or 3.3 percent next year; 3.6 percent in 1984 and 3.3 percent again in 1985.
Based on the current rate of inflation, over-62 retirees are already guaranteed at least 4 percent next year.
But if inflation next year should drop to the 3 percent level of 1967, then under-62 retirees would still get a guaranteed 3.6 percent raise in 1984, while older retirees, whose pensions are generally smaller, would be held to the actual increase in living costs.
By the same token, if living costs actually declined, as they did in 1954 and 1949 (not to mention the 10 percent drop in 1932), under-62 retirees are still guaranteed the minimum increases, while older retirees are not.
Even economists wearing rose-colored glasses don't anticipate a return to 3 percent inflation anytime soon. But if those happy days ever get here again, younger government retirees who feel they are victims of congressionally inspired age discrimination could have the last laugh.
The American Federation of Government Employees will ask the U.S. District Court today to stop the Office of Personnel Management from deleting mention of abortion coverage in 1983 health insurance brochures for workers and retirees.
AFGE is one of more than a dozen plans in the federal health insurance program offering elective abortion coverage to subscribers.
Unless the court blocks it, OPM plans to eliminate mention of nonemergency abortion-coverage benefits in health plan brochures that will be given to employes and retirees before the open enrollment period that runs from Nov. 22 to Dec. 10.
OPM says its decision to expunge abortion-benefit advertisements in brochures is based on the assumption that Congress will ban expenditure of federal funds for nonemergency abortions next year. The stopgap federal funding bill passed by Congress just before adjournment bars the federal health program from financing abortions in 1983 unless the mother's life is in danger. OPM is assuming that Congress will make that legislation permanent before the continuing resolution expires Dec. 17.
AFGE argues that it and other carriers should be allowed to advise potential subscribers that the benefits will be offered next year unless Congress prohibits it.
Farm Credit Administration wants clerk-typists with CS status for Grade 3 and 4 jobs, both full-time and part-time. Send Form 171 to Jacqueline Jones, FCA personnel, Washington 20578.
Defense in Bethesda needs a GS 5 secretary (typing) and GS 4 clerk-typist for full-time or on-call work. Call LaVon Proctor at 295-3081.
Commerce in Georgetown is looking for a temporary, part-time typist, GS 4. Must have CS status. Call Megan Myers on 634-7408.
Army's Harry Diamond Labs has an opening for a Wage Grade Level 10 explosive test operator. Send applications to Sharon Anderson, 2800 Powder Mill Rd., Adelphi, 20738.