On Tuesday, May 21st H.R. 570, the American Heroes COLA Act, passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote. This bipartisan legislation, which Congressman Runyan introduced in February of this year, would make the veterans' Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) automatic and permanent.
"With today's vote, disabled veterans are one step closer to an automatic Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)," said Runyan. "Instead of subjecting these benefits to the ebb and flow of Congressional action, this bill provides veterans with greater certainty that they will receive the benefits they have earned through their service."
Under current law, Cost of Living Adjustments for disabled veterans, like Social Security benefits, are based on the Consumer Price Index Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Unlike Social Security benefit increases, however, veterans' benefit increases rely upon specific action from both chambers of Congress to pass legislation authorizing the increase every year. H.R. 570 would authorize the Secretary of the VA to automatically increase veterans' benefits yearly at the rate of the CPI-W. Once the CPI-W signals the increase, veterans' benefits would automatically adjust without the need for congressional action.
The legislation would need to pass the Senate and be signed by the President to become law.