WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following unanimous approval by the House and Senate, Congress is sending S. 407, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 to the White House. If approved by President Barack Obama, S. 407 would protect the value of compensation for veterans and their survivors from potential inflation.
“Millions of disabled veterans and their survivors rely on monthly compensation, and the value of their payments should be protected from potential inflation,” said Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), author of the bill. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to measure inflation. In the event that the CPI increases, S. 407 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase, as of December 1, 2009, the rates of:
• Veterans’ disability compensation,
• Dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children, and
• Additional related benefits.
The cost of living adjustment (COLA) is designed to offset inflation. If the CPI increases, COLA for the above-mentioned benefits would match the annual increase provided to Social Security recipients. This year’s COLA rate has not been determined, and some predict that the CPI will decrease this year. In the event of a decrease in the CPI, veteran and survivor compensation will remain at last year’s rate.
For more information on the Consumer Price Index, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website, www.bls.gov/cpi.
June 24, 2009