Tester, Isakson Lead Senate Passage of Bill to Boost Veterans’ Benefits

Bipartisan bill to raise veterans’ disability compensation, accommodate for cost-of-living adjustment heads to President’s desk; Nearly 23,000 Montana veterans received disability compensation last year

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester, (D-Mont.), and Johnny Isakson, (R-Ga.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today led the Senate’s passage of the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation to increase veterans’ disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 21 and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our men and women in uniform receive the benefits they earned when returning home from service,” said Tester. “Our bipartisan bill follows through on this promise by increasing disability benefits to veterans living with the wounds of war, and providing financial assistance to military families struggling to keep up with the rising costs of living. I urge President Trump to sign this bill quickly into law, rightfully compensating those who fought to keep our nation safe.”

“We’re working every day to ensure veterans and their families receive the benefits they earned while serving our country,” said Isakson. “I am pleased the Senate has passed this important measure to increase VA disability compensation, dependency compensation for surviving children and spouses, and veterans’ clothing allowance based on rising costs of living. I look forward to the president signing it into law soon.”

The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2019 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 would be 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. Once signed, the cost-of-living adjustment for veterans would go into effect on Dec. 1, 2019.

In 2018, nearly 23,000 Montana veterans received disability compensation. Tester, Montana's only member of the Senate VA Committee, has continued to push legislation to improve veterans’ access to quality care and benefits. 

Tester and Isakson introduced companion legislation in the Senate, and the Senate measure was cosponsored by every member of the Senate VA committee.