U.S. Senator Mark Begich today introduced bipartisan legislation to increase benefits to disabled veterans and surviving spouses and children of deceased veterans to keep up with the cost of living. The bill would make a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) available to veterans at the same level as the increase provided to Social Security beneficiaries.
Begich, the lead sponsor of the bill, is a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The bill is also supported by the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC).
"The COLA increase is incredibly important to veterans everywhere, especially the 77,000 veterans living in Alaska who rely on these payments to feed their families, heat their homes, pay for prescription drugs, and to provide for the needs of spouses and children," said Begich. "We have an obligation to the men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve our country and who now deserve nothing less than the full support of a grateful nation. The COLA brings us one step closer to fulfilling our promise to care for our brave veterans and their families."
The Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the rates of veterans' compensation to keep pace with a rise in the cost-of-living, prompted by an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The legislation would make an increase available to veterans at the same level as the increase provided to recipients of Social Security benefits.
This year, it is projected that over 4.2 million veterans and survivors will receive compensation benefits.