On September 26, 2014, President Obama signed into law a bill meant to increase compensation benefits for veterans with disability. Introduced by Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), the law directs the secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the rate of veteran’s disability compensation beginning December 1, 2014. Upon the bill’s signing, Sen. Begich offered this statement:
“I’m glad the President signed this bill into law today because so many disabled veterans and families of deceased veterans depend on these payments to help them with the essentials like putting food on the table, heating their homes, and paying for prescription drugs,” said Begich. “I sponsored this legislation because we have an obligation to the men and women who sacrificed so much to serve our country and to protect our freedoms. It’s not every day we agree on bills, but veterans issues are everyone’s issues so I’m glad my colleagues were able to put partisan politics aside. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am determined to keep fighting to fulfill our nation’s promise to care for our brave veterans and their families.”
The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is an adjustment in benefits that generally occurs once-a-year. Since 1975, COLA has been in full effect, and from then on, Social Security beneficiaries have received an annual increase in the benefits they receive based on the percentage increase in the consumer price index. COLAs are in place to ensure Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are not affected by inflation.
Two factors determine the application of COLA to a veteran’s benefits: his date of entry into the armed forces and his date of retirement. If you came into the service on or after Sep. 8, 1980, then became eligible for retirement pay on or after Jan. 1, 1996, your COLA will be decreased during your first calendar year of retirement. COLA increases will only be applied to subsequent years.
COLA greatly benefits a veteran’s federal withholding tax, monthly gross pay, annuities, and Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) premiums. That’s why it pays to know more about it. For more information about COLA and other Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, consult a knowledgeable disability benefits lawyer.
Trusted law firms like Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law have ably represented military veterans and helped them receive the benefits due to them. If you are having any issues with your COLA and any other benefits you are receiving, contact one of these law firms and talk to an experienced veterans disability attorney to know the right solutions to take.
(Source: Begich Bill to Increase Payments to Veterans is Signed into Law, Alaska Business Monthly, Sep. 26, 2014)