U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today introduced the Veterans’ Disability Compensation Automatic Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the federal government to provide disabled veterans with an automatic COLA in years when there is an increase in benefits payable under title II of the Social Security Act, which sets the requirements for disability insurance benefits.
“While I wish it didn’t take an act of Congress to provide our disabled veterans with the peace of mind they deserve, I’m glad we’re taking this important step and making this COLA permanent,” said Thune. “These brave men and women have given so much for the defense of our country, and passing this legislation is the least we can do to honor their sacrifice.”
“Our veterans have served our nation courageously, and we have an obligation to make sure their benefits cover all their needs,” said Schatz. “For too long, Congress has had to reauthorize these increases year after year, leaving disabled veterans waiting and wondering if the benefits they receive will cover all their disability-related expenses. It’s time to give these veterans and their families the security of knowing they will always be able to depend on the benefits they have earned.”
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 much-needed certainty from year to year.
Thune introduced similar legislation in 2008, and while the bill was included in a larger legislative package that the Senate unanimously approved, it was later blocked in the House of Representatives.