Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Should Raise Benefits
The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is designed to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor determines the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). If there was an increase from the third quarter last year to the third quarter this year, there is a COLA increase.
This increase is now automatically revisited each year. Prior to the 1972 Social Security Amendments, it required special legislation by Congress to do an increase. Other federal benefits are also automatically adjusted for inflation. The VA similarly provides monthly benefits that are depended on by thousands and thousands of Americans. However, the increase is not automatic like it is with Social Security. Instead, Congress must pass a bill each year in order to keep the increase in line with the Social Security increase.
Two weeks ago the Senate approved the legislation with a voice vote, while the House did the same last week. The legislation will now go to President Obama to sign. There has been no indication that he would veto it. The actual amount of increase has yet to be determined, as it will be calculated next month. This will be the fourth straight year VA benefit payouts have benefitted from a COLA increase. There was no increase in 2010, just as there was not with Social Security.
Will Your VA Benefit Payouts Go Up?
Stay tuned to this site for an update once the new rates are announced. Learn more about current monthly VA disability rates here. Or see answers to common questions about VA disability claims and benefits.