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How Does a COLA Work on an Illinois TRS Pension, and Why Is It Important? 

COLA, or Cost-of-Living-Adjustment, is a legally required automatic increase to pensions. Illinois state law has required an automatic annual increase to pensions since 1969. Currently, COLA is a fixed 3% each year (compounded, meaning the prior year’s benefit gets increased by 3%). This increase happens every year, and is supposed to help your pension benefit keep up with inflation and a constantly-rising cost of living during retirement.