Paycheck Chronicles

VA Disability Compensation Rates See Largest Increase in 7 Years

Navy veteran Petty Officer 1st Class Jay Somers gives high fives as he passes through a cheering crowd along the Face of America bike route in Gettysburg, Pa. April 24, 2016. (DoD/EJ Hersom)

The Department of Veterans Affairs' disability compensation rates will increase by 2.8 percent in 2019, the largest hike since 2012.

So what does this mean for you? Obviously, you will get more money, but how much?

Largest COLA Bump in Years

Disability compensation rate increases, like those of most other federal benefits, are tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures a broad sampling of the cost of consumer goods and expenses.

The CPI is compared to the previous year's numbers. If there is an increase, a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is made. If there is no increase, there is no COLA.

The COLA affects about one of every five Americans, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, federal retirees and retired military members.

In 2018, the COLA was 2.0 percent; in 2017, retirees saw a 0.3 percent increase. There was no increase at all in 2016; the last time COLA increased by more than 2.8 percent was 2012, when compensation rates got a 3.6 percent hike.

Exact Amounts Not Available Yet

While we can figure out the approximate 2019 amounts based on the cost-of-living increase, the VA has strange computation rules that make working out the exact rates impossible. Therefore, we can't say for sure what the final amounts will be until the VA releases them.

Usually, the department makes the new amounts public in early December.

The VA pays benefits on the first day of each month for the previous month. But if the first day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, you are paid on the last business day of the previous month. This means that you can expect to see the higher rates in your Feb. 1, 2019 payment.

Until then, we have computed the unofficial increased amounts you can expect to receive for your VA disability compensation next year.

Here are the 2019 compensation rates for a veteran without dependents who has the disability rating noted:

10 percent - $140.05

20 percent - $276.84

30 percent - $428.83

40 percent - $617.73

50 percent - $879.36

60 percent - $1,113.86

70 percent - $1,403.71

80 percent - $1,631.69

90 percent - $1,833.62

100 percent - $3,057.13

To see all the disability compensation rates, including the increased amounts you can expect to receive if you have a disability rating of 30 percent or more and are entitled to increased amounts for your dependents, check out our our Disability Compensation Rates page.

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