The cost of everything seems to rise steadily, yet your Veteran’s Disability benefits remain the same. Many veterans receiving such benefits wonder about the rising cost of living and whether they may ever see a cost of living adjustment (COLA).
How Cost of Living Adjustments Are Determined
A cost of living adjustment is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). The CPI-W from the third quarter of the previous year is compared to the CPI-W for the third quarter of the current year to determine the COLA for the following year. For example, the CPI-W for July, August, and September 2015 (or 2014 since there was no COLA based on 2015 numbers) would be compared to the CPI-W for July, August, and September 2016 to determine the COLA for 2017. Then, looking at these numbers, specific rules are applied to determine whether a cost of living adjustment should be made.
What’s Happened Recently?
In recent years, COLA for veterans receiving federal disability benefits has been as follows:
- 2014: 1.5% increase
- 2015: 1.7% increase
- 2016: no increase
- 2017: The projected increase is 0.3%; however, the exact amount will depend on the final third quarter CPI-W for 2016 and it will be announced in late October 2016.
If the COLA does increase for disabled veterans in 2017, it would be effective beginning in December 2016 and should be reflected in your December 31, 2016 payment.
COLA Is Only Part of Getting Fair Veterans Disability Compensation
Do you believe you should be receiving more support from the Veterans Administration regarding your disability, or that your VA disability rating is not accurate? You deserve fair compensation if you qualify for veterans’ disability benefits, but you might have to fight for it.
Don’t hesitate to contact the veterans’ disability attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod to discuss your injury and your disability case. Call our office at 800-800-6353, fill out the short contact form on this page, or start a live chat with us to learn more.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.