Timmons bill that provides a cost-of-living increase to retirees signed into law

OLYMPIA—The last few years with high inflation have been difficult for many people, but especially for seniors living on fixed incomes. Today, with Gov. Jay Inslee signing legislation that provides a cost-of-living increase to retirees from the public sector, some ease is soon coming their way. 

Gov. Inslee signs Substitute House Bill No. 1985 – March 26, 2024. Relating to providing a benefit increase to certain retirees of the public employees’ retirement system plan 1 and the teachers’ retirement system plan 1. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Timmons


“I’m concerned about how rising costs impact seniors throughout the state,” said Rep. Joe Timmons, D-Bellingham, who introduced House Bill 1985 before the start of this year’s legislative session. “This bill provides a 3 percent cost-of-living (COLA) increase, up to $110 per month, to those who dedicated their careers to public service and are on Plan 1 of the state’s public employees’ retirement system (PERS1) or teachers’ retirement system (TRS1).” 

HB 1985 passed off both the House and Senate floors unanimously during this year’s 60-day legislative session. 

“Our retired educators and public servants have given so much to the people of this great state. This bill will make a tangible difference in their lives, making it easier to afford basic goods and services and to age with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Timmons. 

“In my first year as a legislator, I saw the challenges seniors face in our community. That’s also why I introduced House Bill 1431, which passed last year and eliminated sales tax on prepared meals for tenants at senior living communities. I am proud that HB 1985 builds upon this work to provide additional support for seniors in Washington,” added Timmons. 

Unlike other state pension plans, PERS1 and TRS1 do not assume an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Between 1995 and 2011, PERS1 and TERS1 retirees were eligible for an annual increase from a benefit known as the Uniform COLA, which included an additional 3 percent increase annually until it was repealed in 2011. Timmons’ bill establishes the fifth annual Plan 1 benefit increase since 2011.