US - New Jersey's beleaguered pension system is expected to pay out US$5.1bn in retirement payments in the coming year, according to the Treasury.
The Treasury said retirement payments to the 217,000 retirees from the state's four main pensions funds had increased by $363m from $4.7bn the previous year.
Treasury spokesman Tom Vincz explained the driving factor behind the 7.7% increase had been caused by the cost of living adjustments (COLA) given to retirees.
He said every retiree received a COLA increase after two years and then a further increase each subsequent February.
Vincz added that the current COLA increase was equal to 60% of the inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
He said: "There are some increases that we would tag to individual who are retiring based on a benefit level that may be higher than it was five to ten years ago."
Vince also said the issue of longevity was a contributing factor to the increase in payouts.
Pension records revealed that annual pensions for the ten highest paid government workers who retired in 2007 totaled $10.8m, an average of £108,000 per retiree.
The figures also highlighted that the state's pension debt now stood at an estimated $25bn, caused by the state's failure to fully fund the system and offering benefits such as medical care instead.
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