U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), ranking member of the committee, this week applauded the Senate for unanimously passing the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2021, bipartisan legislation that would increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans. The increase would be in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, the same index that determines the annual rate adjustments for Social Security benefits. Once signed into law, the cost-of-living adjustment for veterans would go into effect on December 1, 2021.
“I’m grateful the Senate passed our bipartisan bill to provide our veterans with the certainty they deserve for the following year,” said Thune. “I will continue to work with Sen. Schatz, the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Veterans Service Organizations to make this annual exercise automatic. This bill brings us one step closer to achieving that goal.”
“There’s no reason that we shouldn’t guarantee an annual cost-of-living adjustment for our nation’s veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Schatz. “Our bill is now one step closer to becoming law which means our veterans will soon get the COLA benefit increase they deserve.”
“With many of our nation’s veterans already struggling with economic hardship this past year, it’s on us to follow through on our promise to deliver stronger benefits that’ll help them keep up with the rising costs of living,” said Chairman Tester. “Senate passage of our bill means we’re one step closer to providing those in uniform with the support and certainty they need to make ends meet at a time when they need it most.”
“Prices on energy, rent and groceries are increasing around the country, and Congress must make certain that the disability benefits provided to veterans keep pace with the rising cost of living,” said Ranking Member Moran. “Veterans disabled due to their service often count on these benefits to replace lost earnings, and this legislation will help provide them with some peace of mind in the coming year.”
The veterans’ COLA is usually, but not automatically, enacted each year and is already anticipated in the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline, which means this bill is budget-neutral and will provide disabled veterans additional certainty from year to year.