Legislation giving veterans a cost-of-living adjustment on benefits in 2024 -- likely to result in an increase in payments -- is headed to President Joe Biden's desk for signature following an agreement by the House.
The annual procedure done by Congress guarantees that veterans' pensions or disability payments will keep pace with increases to Social Security, Supplemental Security and federal disability income payments.
The exact amount of next year's increase has not yet been determined. It's based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers and usually is announced at the start of the fiscal year, sometime in October.
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However, a national advocacy group, the Senior Citizens League, is currently projecting it to be around 3.1%.
Social Security recipients and veterans this year saw the largest boost to their COLAs in nearly four decades, an 8.7% rise based on the high inflation experienced in the U.S. in 2022.
Some years, however, the increase is significantly smaller, and at times has been at zero -- in 2009, 2010 and 2015, according to the Social Security Administration.
The House approved the legislation without objection Tuesday after the Senate passed it by unanimous consent March 30.
Sponsors of the bill, the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2023, said Wednesday that the legislation is needed to give disabled veterans and their survivors "peace of mind" regarding their finances.
"Our veterans put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and they deserve certainty when it comes to providing for their families," Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
"We have a responsibility to take care of our veterans and their families, many of whom rely on the VA for financial support," said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., the committee's ranking member. "Ensuring their benefits keep pace with rising costs and inflation will help provide disabled veterans and certain surviving spouses and children with some peace of mind and provide them the stability they deserve."
The White House has not announced when Biden plans to perform the pro forma task of signing the bill.
-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Military.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime
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