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City of Detroit General Fund Retirees have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Retirees are among the most vulnerable population due to declining health and income. The death rate of Detroit General Fund Retirees during the pandemic has exceeded expectations by 151%.
Inflation for 2021 was at a forty year high of 7%. This surge has decreased retiree buying power substantially. For comparison, from 2015 to 2020 retirees lost only 9% in six years from inflation increases. General Fund Retirees stopped receiving cost of living adjustment due to the bankruptcy plan of adjustment in 2014. (Police and fire retirees did not lose all of their cost of living protection).
Retirees are having a hard time providing for their basic needs during the pandemic. Detroit’s elected officials could use some of the $826 million Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to rescue Detroit’s General Fund Retirees.
There are about 11,200 General Fund retirees with an average yearly pension of $20,000 (2020 figures). A 7% “booster shot” one-time payment would be $1,400 to rescue these retirees from this severe loss. The cost to the City would be less than $16 million – less than 2% of the total American Rescue Plan package. This is what these funds were intended to do!
We call on Detroit’s Mayor and City Council to take immediate action to protect City of Detroit General Fund retirees who gave so much to the city in their years of service by rescuing General Fund Retirees with a $1,400 pension “booster shot.”