Retired military members and veterans receiving disability pay likely will receive large monthly check increases for the second consecutive year due to the pace of inflation, reported Military.com.
The estimated rate increase will be 9.6%, according to a projection by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a nonpartisan senior advocacy nonprofit.
That increase would be the highest veterans and seniors have seen since 1981, when it went up 11.2% in response to inflation at the time, according to a TSCL press release.
The annual Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability pay and military retirement cost-of-living pay adjustment, known as COLA, typically is tied to the Social Security rate change, which will likely be announced in October, Military.com reported.
The projected increase would mean military retirees would see an average increase of more than $240 in their monthly retirement checks.
The Defense Department said there are around 1.87 million military retirees, who received an annual average retirement payment of $30,265 in 2020.
Veterans receiving disability compensation from the VA — nearly 5.2 million vets — also would see their monthly disability payments increase, with the average monthly amount going up by more than $150. They received an annual average benefit of $18,858 as of 2021.
The anticipated 2023 increase would follow a 5.9% increase this year, which followed an average 1.5% increase over the previous 10 years.
TSCL said that if inflation runs "hot," or higher than the recent average, the COLA could be 10.1% for next year. If inflation runs "cold," or lower than the recent average, the COLA could be 9.3%.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and ranking member Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., introduced the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2022 in May.
"When it comes to our nation’s veterans and their families, we’ve got to see to it that they don’t fall back on hard times," Tester said then. "Our bipartisan bill will ensure their benefits are keeping pace with the changing economy—providing these folks with the support they need and earned."
"We have a responsibility to take care of our veterans, many of whom rely on VA for financial support," Moran said. "As rampant inflation is driving up the cost of living, this legislation helps makes certain veterans are able to keep up with our changing economy and receive the benefits they have been promised."
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