House Passes Bill to Compensate Veterans With Cost-Of-Living Adjustment

House Passes Bill to Compensate Veterans With Cost-Of-Living Adjustment

( – Veterans are the reason all U.S. citizens can live the lives that they do, but many who have become disabled struggle to live comfortably. Congress hopes its latest decision to pass a new compensation measure will help.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Monday to increase the annual cost-of-living for veterans with disabilities linked to their service. The 423-0 vote sends the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk. He is expected to sign the measure into law within the next week. The Senate already passed the bill earlier this summer.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

The adjustment reflects yearly inflation in calculating disability payments veterans receive. The increase will be the same as the one granted to Social Security recipients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the consumer price index, which dictates how much of an increase the payments receive. While the effective date is December 1, Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) noted that Congress is working to have the adjustment ready well before the deadline.

Social Security payments automatically receive a boost annually, but veteran benefits have to be approved by Congress annually. They haven’t determined the exact amount for the boost, but experts expect Congress will release that information next month.

Past Boosts

Last month, Senior Citizen League officials stated that this year’s increase could be the largest since 1983 for both Social Security and VA beneficiaries. With recent inflation taken into account and the wage information that national economists uncovered, this year’s increase could be as high as 6.2%. The cost-of-living increase has averaged about 1.3% over the past six years and hasn’t reached higher than 3% since 2011.

Supporting America’s Veterans

Rep. Takano, D-Calif., who serves as the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman, noted that the adjustment increase is a way to show appreciation to veterans for their sacrifice and service to their country. Mike Bost, R-Ill., ranking member on the committee, mentioned that the increase will especially help veterans and families who rely on the payments as their main source of income. With the current economic state, Bost says the increase to these payments couldn’t come at a better time.

National Defense Authorization Act

Earlier in September, the House Armed Services Committee approved a $778 billion defense bill, in part to provide additional support to veterans. The decision came after a 16-hour session as the panel voted 57 to 2 in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act. The defense policy aligned with President Biden’s $753 billion budget for 2022. However, Republicans gained bipartisan support for a $25 billion increase, bringing the total to $778 billion.

The messy withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan gave the GOP lawmakers the needed leverage to increase the budget. Many Democrats believe President Biden should have planned the military withdrawal and evacuation of Americans and Afghan refugees better. The National Defense Authorization Act will be the focus of the House later this week, and representatives will likely vote on it at that time.

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