Veteran disability benefits, retirement get cost-of-living increase

Abbie Bennett
October 11, 2019 - 10:31 am

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This story originally published on Sept. 27, 2019 at 2:18 p.m. It was updated on Oct. 11, 2019 at 10:31 a..m.

Disabled veterans and will see a cost of living increase to their benefits next year -- but it's less than last year. 

The same goes for military retirees. 

President Donald Trump last month signed into law the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act introduced by Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

The bill, co-sponsored by all members of the SVAC, increases the amount of Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation, dependent compensation for Gold Star families and the clothing allowance for veterans.

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The cost-of-living adjustment for veterans matches the increases to Social Security recipients and military retirees and is decided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index annually. In 2019, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security was a 2.8 percent increase. The COLA for 2020 is 1.6 percent, announced this week. 

The increase is lower than last year but follows an about 10-year trend of lower increases. The 1.6 percent bump means veterans should see another $16 for each $1,000 in government benefits they receive. 

The increase goes into effect Dec. 1, 2019 and veterans should see the change in 2020. 

"We have a responsibility to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they earned when returning home from service," Isakson tweeted after the president signed the bill in September. "I'm glad to see (the president) sign into law today our legislation to provide an increase in disability compensation based on rising costs of living." 

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Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.

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