The Memphis Fire Fighters Association's (MFFA) president Thomas Malone sent a letter Monday to the Memphis City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd asking that the Council change an ordinance that limits pension amounts for retirees.
The last cost of living benefit raise that the retirees received was in 2012, Malone says, and was only a one half of a percent increase.
"I believe you can agree with me that the cost of living has increased some in the last five years," he wrote.
Malone, writing on behalf of more than 700 fire department retirees who "dedicated their lives to the citizens and visitors of the city," asked that Boyd "lead the charge with the Council" to allow retirees to receive a "much-deserved cost of living increase."
Most of the retirees are not eligible for Social Security, and for those who are, he says they are penalized up to 60 percent by the federal government for qualifying for municipal pension. As a result, they don't receive their full benefits.
Though Malone notes that the current City Administration states that retirees cannot receive a raise due to a tight pension fund, which city officials say cannot not afford an increase in expenditures, the MMFA is asking for a 2 percent increase in cost of living benefits.
This would lead to a $3.2 million increase to the pension fund expenditures, one Malone says is little compared to the higher cost of living that retirees are facing, citing the rising amount retirees are paying for health insurance as an example.