Retired and disabled military veterans will see the largest increase in benefits checks in decades thanks to a new law signed by President Biden on Oct. 8. The law ties the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for veterans benefits to the recent cost-of-living adjustment for people who receive Social Security.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recent 5.9% COLA hike for Social Security recipients thus pertains to veterans and their benefits as well. The law, which affects an estimated 70 million Americans, goes into effect in 2022.
Largest benefits increase since 1983
The law declares that whenever a COLA increase occurs for Social Security recipients, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must increase benefits provided to veterans by the same percentage. It represents the biggest boost in benefits for retired and disabled veterans since 1983.
Along with increasing disability payments to veterans, the law also increases compensation to their dependents, surviving spouses and children and a clothing allowance for specific disabled veterans.
Beginning in January, retired military members will see a $59-benefits boost for every $1,000 they get each month. Military members who receive disability compensation will receive an additional $8.50 per month for a 10% disability rating and as much as an additional $185.64 per month if they have a 100% rating.
While the Social Security COLA becomes automatic annually, the increase in veterans' benefits must be addressed and approved separately by lawmakers.
Reassurance for veterans and families
Millions of U.S. veterans and their families rely on these benefits to survive. The new law focuses on improving the quality of life for veterans who suffer from ailments tied to their time serving their country. It also provides reassurance for veterans knowing that when they die their surviving family will not experience a decline in benefits when the economy fluctuates and inflation surfaces.