On November 21, 2013 President Barak Obama signed S. 893: Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2013 into law. This law continues the history of approving the same cost of living adjustment (COLA) that applies to retirement benefits to benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Historically, every year that a COLA is issued, it becomes an automatic increase for Social Security benefits and military retirement pay. However, every year Congress issues a COLA, it must also pass a separate bill to approve the COLA for veterans’ disability benefits.
New Bill Eliminates Rounding Down COLA to Next Lowest Dollar
This year’s bill to increase the COLA for veterans did as it has in previous years in regards to securing the benefit increase, but it also removed the previous action of rounding down benefit amounts.
In years past, the COLA was rounded down to the nearest dollar in a money saving measure. This year, the COLA bill removed this practice and disability benefits will be paid without any reductions.
The removal of the rounding practice will only result in an additional few cents, but according to Senator Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and sponsor of the 2013 COLA bill, “These seemingly small amounts of money add up over time and will contribute to the financial stability of millions of veterans and their survivors.”
If you currently receive veterans’ disability benefits, expect to see the COLA increase applied to your January disability pay. Veterans pursuing disability benefit claims or have yet to file will receive the increased rate in their first check once their claim has been approved.
The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group, PA are here to help disabled veterans and their families obtain the military benefits to which they are entitled after their service to our country. For help appealing a VA decision regarding your service-connected disability or to learn about the benefit programs available to your family, contact us at 1-855-855-8992.