Isakson, Blumenthal Introduce Bill to Increase Benefits to Veterans

Bipartisan bill would boost veterans’ disability compensation to accommodate for cost-of-living adjustment

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, respectively, today introduced the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2016 (S.3032), bipartisan legislation to increase veterans’ disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

“Our veterans put their lives on the line for our country, and our job is to make sure they get the benefits they earned and deserve,” said Isakson.  “As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I’m proud to introduce this bill to increase veterans’ benefits in keeping with rising costs of living.”

“This critical legislation keeps faith with our men and women in uniform who were injured during their service to our country,” said Blumenthal. “Escalating living expenses are painfully squeezing veterans who rely on disability payments, and this bill would ensure their compensation keeps pace with rising costs. It is our duty to provide veterans and their families the support they need to live with the dignity they deserve.”

The bill, which was co-sponsored by every member of the Senate VA committee, would increase the rates of VA disability compensation, dependency compensation for surviving children and spouses, and the clothing allowance for veterans based on rising costs of living.

This cost-of-living adjustment, which is equal to the amount of the adjustment given to Social Security recipients, is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index on a yearly basis. The cost-of-living adjustment for veterans would go into effect on December 1, 2016.

The original co-sponsors of the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2016 are Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., John Boozman, R-Ark., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Patty Murray, D-Wash., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Jon Tester, D-Mont., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

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The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.