Veterans Could Soon See Biggest Cost-of-Living Benefits Boost in Decades

September 22, 2021Hannah Ray Lambert

Lawmakers approved a cost-of-living adjustment for veterans’ benefits, but the Social Security Administration has yet to announce by how much the rate will increase. US Army photo by Spc. Dana Clarke.

Veterans could see an unusually large boost in their cost-of-living benefits payments because of legislation that Congress passed this week.

The Senate approved the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act on July 21. On Monday, Sept. 20, the House of Representatives passed the bill 423-0. It now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden. If the measure is signed into law, it could represent the largest increase in benefits payments in decades.

The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is tied to the annual increase in Social Security benefits, effective Dec. 1. The Social Security Administration has not announced the new rate yet, but the Senior Citizens League predicts that it could be as high as 6.1%, which would be the largest increase since 1983. The COLA has averaged around 1.4% for the past decade.

World War II veterans place wreaths at the National World War II Memorial to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and Operation Overlord, in Washington, DC, June 6, 2019. Department of Defense photo by Lisa Ferdinando.

High inflation fueled by the coronavirus pandemic drove the remarkably large estimated boost, according to the Senior Citizens League. Rising gas and transportation prices are major contributors since the consumer price index gives those expenses more weight, according to a press release from the advocacy group.

Veterans’ COLA applies to disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, clothing allowances, and other kinds of VA assistance.

Lawmakers heralded the bill as a necessary step to protect the nation’s veterans.

“Many veterans rely on disability compensation payments to make ends meet; this was especially true during the pandemic,” Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican from Illinois, said. “For millions of veterans and their families, this adjustment is more important now than ever before.”

Read Next: VA Clears Path to Benefits for LGBT Members Discharged Under DADT

Hannah Ray Lambert
Hannah Ray Lambert

Hannah Ray Lambert is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die who previously covered everything from murder trials to high school trap shooting teams. She spent several months getting tear gassed during the 2020-2021 civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not working, Hannah enjoys hiking, reading, and talking about authors and books on her podcast Between Lewis and Lovecraft.

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