President Obama has signed into law a measure providing a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment to disabled veterans and their survivors.
The increase takes effect Dec. 1 and will first appear in the January checks of more than 5 million beneficiaries.
While annual adjustments are automatic for Social Security and for military and federal civilian retired pay, Congress has never relinquished its power to approve increases in veterans’ disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors.
Lawmakers have retained that power in the belief this gives them ability to add other provisions to a bill that is unlikely to face any stiff political opposition.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who chairs the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and sponsor of the 2013 COLA bill, attached one provision to the bill that has long raised complaints from veterans: The COLA is no longer rounded down to the next lower dollar as a money-saving gimmick.
“These seemingly small amounts of money add up over time and will contribute to the financial stability of millions of veterans and their survivors,” Sanders said.