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Thune, Schatz Reintroduce Bill to Make Annual Veteran Cost of Living Adjustment Automatic

Legislation Provides Long-Term Certainty for America’s Disabled Heroes

September 19, 2017


U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today reintroduced 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. 

“Our disabled veterans deserve the certainty that this bill would provide,” said Thune. “Rather than making our veterans endure the annual exercise of authorizing this COLA at the last minute, we should grant our veterans some peace of mind. This legislation sends the right message to our disabled veterans and their families that we value all they have done to keep Americans safe.”

“There’s no reason a cost-of-living adjustment for our nation’s veterans needs an annual stamp of approval, when it’s really a no-brainer,” said Schatz. “As a country, we should honor our commitment to our veterans, especially the men and women who are disabled, and this bill will make sure we do it right, year after 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 much-needed certainty from year to year.

Thune and Schatz first introduced this legislation last Congress. 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.