WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night the Senate unanimously approved legislation to protect the value of compensation for veterans and their survivors from potential inflation. In the event that the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an increase in inflation based on the Consumer Price Index, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living-Adjustment Act of 2009, as amended, would increase veteran and survivor compensation by that rate.
“Compensation for disabled veterans and their survivors is an ongoing cost of war, and it should not be allowed to decrease in value because of inflation. Should the cost-of-living rise as it has in previous years, my bill would ensure that veterans’ compensation increases accordingly,” said Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), author of the bill.
Assuming inflation, S. 407, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009, as amended, 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) for the above-mentioned benefits would match the annual increase provided to Social Security recipients, which is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI). The COLA is designed to offset inflation and other factors that alter the cost-of-living over time. This year’s rate has not been determined, and some are predicting that the CPI will decrease rather than increase. 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 11, 2009