President Donald Trump recently signed into law the annual Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act. This measure guarantees that several veterans benefits will see the same annual boost as Social Security recipients.
The Military Times’ recent article asks the following: “Veterans benefits will see a cost-of-living bump this year, but how much?” According to the article, the veterans benefits covered include disability compensation, compensation for dependents, clothing allowances, and dependency and indemnity compensation checks.
The measure is typically merely a formality—it passed Congress again this year with no opposition. However, the bill is required annual work for lawmakers, because federal statute doesn’t link annual COLA increases for the two separate payouts.
Legislative efforts in recent years to make the increases automatic for veterans haven’t been successful.
Navy veteran Elaine Lauria, D-Va., sponsored the measure. She termed it an important way for lawmakers to honor their commitment to individuals who served honorably in the armed forces.
“Providing quality benefits to our veterans and their dependents can change lives,” she said.
The official cost-of-living boost for Social Security beneficiaries won’t be announced, until next month. However, multiple analysts have said they expect it to be below the 2.8% adjustment awarded last year.
The annual COLA calculation is based on a series of economic indicators. This includes the private sector wage growth.
In the last 10 years, Social Security recipients (and those getting veterans benefits) have had no annual increase three times. It has only gone above 2% twice in that time.
In many instances, lawmakers don’t finalize the link between the veterans’ cost-of-living increase and the Social Security one, until later in the fall after the figure has been announced.
However, due to the timing of check distribution and the federal calendar, the increases in veterans’ benefits will be seen in individuals’ December payouts.
Reference: Military Times (September 30, 2019) “Veterans benefits will see a cost-of-living bump this year, but how much?”