House Passes Cost of Living Adjustment For Disabled Veterans
U.S. House Passes Bill to Increase Cost of Living for Disabled Vets and Expedite Benefit Payments
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that will provide a cost of living adjustment to VA-offered benefits for disabled veterans that would take effect in 2016. Cost of Living (COL) adjustments are made to match inflation and must be approved by Congress each year. The COL last year was 1.7%, which represented an increase of approximately $20 per month for Social Security recipients. This adjustment benefits approximately four million disabled veterans.
The House also passed legislation that would speed up federal payments to veteran with complex benefits claims. Under the new legislation, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) would be required to pay benefits to veterans as parts of their claims are processed, instead of waiting until the entire case is resolved. A typical complex claim can be made up of many components, and this measure would allow veterans to receive at least some of their earned benefits in a more timely manner.
Lawmakers added a provision that would require the VA to award benefits of a deceased veteran to their estate. Currently, benefits are only paid out to family members who have passed away, a dependent child or spouse for example. where the Department retains the benefit if the veteran dies without surviving, qualifying family members to receive payments.