On Wednesday, May 8th H.R. 570, the American Heroes COLA Act, favorably passed the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs (VA) by a voice vote. This bipartisan legislation, which Congressman Runyan introduced back in February of this year, would make the veterans' Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) automatic and permanent.
"Our country's veterans deserve far better than to be subjected to having their earned benefits up for debate every single year," said Runyan following the committee's passage of the bill. "H.R. 570 would allow for a permanent automatic COLA increase and end the waiting game that veterans play every year to see if they'll receive a COLA. I strongly believe America's veterans have more than earned this benefit through their dedicated service to our nation, and I am pleased that H.R. 570 is now one step closer to becoming a reality."
Cost-of-Living Adjustments in veterans' benefits, like Social Security benefits, are based on the Consumer Price Index Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Unlike Social Security benefit increases, veterans' benefit increases rely upon 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.
If passed by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Obama, H.R.570 would begin taking effect on December 1st, 2014.