WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), with his colleagues on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced S. 4579, the annual Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). This bipartisan legislation increases certain VA benefits including disability and dependent compensation, clothing allowances, and dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving spouses and children.
“As the cost of living increases across the country, the assistance we give our veterans should as well,” said Senator Cramer. “We have a responsibility to ensure the people who fought for our country receive sufficient benefits when they return home.”
The COLA to these VA benefits will be determined by the annual COLA to social security benefits and would go into effect on December 1, 2020. The Social Security Administration bases their annual COLA adjustment on the Consumer Price Index, as determined each December by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Senate VA Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT) are leading this legislation.
“The cost of living adjustment for the VA makes certain that the benefits provided to our veterans through programs at the VA are adjusted each year to align with inflation and ensure that our veterans receive the resources they need to succeed in a changing economy and market,” said Chairman Moran. “Veterans deserve the best our country has to offer, and this legislation makes certain veterans are able to keep up with the rising costs of living and receive the benefits they have been promised.”
“We have a responsibility to ensure that our men and women in uniform receive the benefits they earned when they return home from service,” said Ranking Member Tester. “This starts by making sure they can keep up with the rising costs of housing, utilities, and food—especially during this difficult time. I’m proud to stand alongside my committee colleagues in doing right by our veterans, and supporting them when they need us most.”
Joining Senator Cramer as original cosponsors are Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA).