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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

Retired school employees facing freeze on cost of living benefit

Ohio lawmakers approved a plan by the State Employees Retirement System to freeze a three percent cost of living adjustment for the next three years.

The Ohio Association of Public School Employees says beginning January 1, nearly 80,000 retired school workers will receive a smaller than expected pension check in the mail.

Earlier this year, Ohio lawmakers approved a plan by the State Employees Retirement System to freeze a three percent cost of living adjustment, or COLA, for the next three years.

The change impacts school bus drivers, secretaries, food service workers, custodians, and school librarians.

SERS argued the change was necessary if it was going to continue to provide health care benefits to retirees.

OAPSE said retired members receive an average benefit of $1,184 a month. The three percent COLA would increase that by about $426 a year.

Reatha Goshay said it may not sound like a lot of money, but after spending 35 years as a food service employee for the schools, she deserves every penny.

"I worked hard for that. I think I deserve it. I need it," said Goshay.

The union said it's planning legal action.

In July, the State Teachers Retirement System froze COLA benefits for retired Ohio teachers for up to five years.