It was a good month for veterans and their families! For the first time in two years, veterans and their surviving spouses who receive compensation and pension disability benefits will be getting a long overdue and well deserved raise. It is the first such raise since 2009. Only twice since 1975, (the past two years) has there been no cost-of-living adjustment. Beneficiaries will see a 3.6 percent adjustment, increasing the average annual benefit by $516 to $14,748. This increase will be reflected in the checks that begin to arrive in mailboxes in January 2012.
The purpose of this bill was to offset inflation and other factors which have led to the rising cost of living over time. “COLA” is critical in ensuring the areas of need regarding today’s cost of living are adjusted annually. Wartime Disability Compensation, the Clothing Allowance for severely disabled veterans, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouse and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Children monetary values must be increased every year to sustain veterans, dependents and survivor’s current quality of life.
The COLA rate is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index. Last week, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced that a bill that she sponsored which provided for a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for America’s veterans passed the U.S. Senate. The COLA for veterans will match the 3.6 percent annual increase provided to Social Security recipients, which was announced will happen this year also for the first time since 2009.