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Pensions falling short


To the editor:

It’s widely known that New York State, and New York City especially, are among the most expensive places to live for retirees. Prices, on average, are about 20 percent higher than four years ago. This had adversely affected New York City Retirement System retirees.

To deal with stubborn inflation, President Richard Nixon passed legislation to grant automatic increases to Social Security retirees. In the last two years, that has meant that Social Security recipients received increases of 1.3 percent in 2020, 5.9 percent in 2021, 8.7 percent in 2022 and 3.2 percent in 2023. 

NYCERS’ retirees have received nothing comparable. Cost-of-living adjustments from NYCERS were based only on the first $18,000 of a retirees’ pension. My last NYCERS pension increase was $31 per month. For me and thousands of other New York State retirees, our NYCERS pension checks are our basic income.

Our cost-of-living increases are far below those of inflation and far lower than the Social Security increases for inflation.

The current NYCERS system guarantees that city retirees will gradually become poorer and poorer. In just the last few years NYCERS pensions have been reduced in value by nearly 20 percent because of inflation!

We urgently need legislation such as passed in 1972 for Social Security pensions to give us increases commensurate with inflation. This is the most important issue facing NYCERS’ retirees. I urgently request NYCERS’ retirees to write their New York State Senate and Assembly representatives to pass such legislation and for our Unions, many with seats on the NYCERS’ Board, to grant pension raises commensurate with inflation or face tens of thousands of poor NYCERS’ retirees.

Kevin Harrington

The writer is a member of TWU Retirees Association’s executive board.


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