COLA sought for veterans

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee joined with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) in sponsoring his legislation to increase veterans’ compensation through a Cost-of-Living Adjustment.

The COLA increase is expected to affect several important benefits, including veterans’ disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.  It is projected that over 3.6 million veterans and survivors will receive compensation benefits in Fiscal Year 2013.

“Last year’s passage of the COLA bill I sponsored provided a much needed cost-of-living increase for the first time since 2009,” said Chairman Murray. “Particularly in this difficult economy, our veterans deserve a boost in their benefits to help make ends meet. We have an obligation to the men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve our country and who now deserve nothing less than the full support of a grateful nation.  A COLA increase will help bring us one step closer to fulfilling our nation’s promise to care for our brave veterans and their families.”

Tester’s Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the rates of veterans’ compensation to keep pace with a rise in the cost-of-living, should an adjustment be prompted by an increase in the Consumer Price Index.  The bill specifies that the increase would affect veterans’ disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children, and certain related benefits.

The COLA increase for veterans will match the annual increase provided to Social Security recipients. The COLA is designed to offset inflation and other factors that lead to the rising cost of living over time.  The COLA rate is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.