At the end of October, Congress officially passed the 2014 Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) at 1.5 percent. This is a historically low increase, only the seventh COLA below the two percent amount since 1975. The increase in benefit amounts will apply to military retirement pay as well as compensation and pension for disabled veterans.
The COLA will automatically increase Social Security disability benefits starting in December, but Congress must approve the increase for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill for approval of a COLA for 2014 was introduced on May 8, 2013 and as of October 28 has passed the Senate. Now that the COLA rate has been determined and approved, the House is now set to vote for approval.
If the bill passes, benefit increases would begin December 1, provided the bill is signed into law by that time. Historically, Congress has always approved the same COLA for veterans’ benefits that was automatically issued for Social Security. However, in many cases the bill to approve the COLA for veterans’ disability benefits is delayed to the point where the bill is not yet approved by the time the increase is set to begin. In these instances, retroactive benefits are issued once both the Senate and House approve the increase for veterans.
The 2013 compensation rate for a 100 percent disabled veteran alone with no dependent children, spouse or parents was $2,816 per month. The 2014 COLA would increase that benefit by about $42 per month. This year’s COLA rate was determined by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013. In years where inflation is not substantial, such as in 2010-2011, there is no COLA.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. helps disabled veterans recover the disability benefits to which they are entitled. If you have been denied benefits or feel your disability rating is unfair, talk to our team to determine your options for re-evaluations and appeals. Call today – 1-888-234-5758.