July 15, 2016

Udall, Heinrich Welcome Passage of Bill to Provide Cost of Living Increases to Veterans' Disability Compensation

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich welcomed Senate passage of a bill to implement an annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for veterans' disability compensation. As of December 1, 2016, all veterans and their family members who receive service-related disability compensation through Wartime Disability Compensation, Compensation for Dependents, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for surviving spouses and children, and clothing allowances will receive annual increases in their compensation. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, so it now goes to the president to be signed into law.

While Congress typically passes legislation each year to provide veterans receiving disability compensation with the same cost of living adjustment that is automatically granted to Social Security beneficiaries, veterans with disabilities and their families are often left waiting until Congress acts to find out whether they will receive more money to compensate for the rising costs of every-day necessities. This bill will provide veterans with disabilities and their families with certainty that their benefits will be adjusted annually through a calculation based on the Consumer Price Index.

"Finally, veterans with disabilities and their families will be able to count on their compensation keeping up with the rising costs of every-day necessities," Udall said. "Our veterans made great sacrifices to protect our freedom and security, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, I will continue to work to ensure we uphold our promise to provide them with the benefits they have earned."

"We must do right by our service men and women who put their lives on the line to protect what we hold most dear," said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We owe our military families and our nation's veterans more than a debt of gratitude--we owe them action in both our words and deeds. I'm proud to fight on behalf of veterans and military families across New Mexico. This cost-of-living adjustment will ensure those who have sacrificed for America receive the dignity and care they have earned."

The bill is supported by numerous veterans organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and others.