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house Bill H.R. 5588

Should Congress Increase the Cost-of-Living Adjustment for Disabled Veterans?

Argument in favor

Many veterans depend on their disability benefits as a principal form of income. This bill would ensure that veterans — and their families — don’t have to make painful financial sacrifices to survive.

operaman's Opinion
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07/13/2016
Let's make it fair, increase COLA for Disabled Vets on the same rate Congress increases their pay. I'm very sure Disabled Vets would accept this same increase. Now let's move on to Social Security Disability COLA....
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07/11/2016
Being a disabled Veteran I will say that in the three years I have been receiving my benefits and using that money as my primary source of income, that the cost of groceries has increased, my property taxes have gone up, and pretty much anything else that I purchase as either need or necessity has risen. But the one thing that hasn't been adjusted for is my disability benefit. Given that everything else is going up in price, it would only be fair if for myself and other disabled Veteran's like me if our benefits were increased to keep up with the ever rising cost of inflation. Service members on Active Duty receive a COLA adjustment, and so do those members who are in the Guard and the Reserve. So then why aren't disabled Veterans who were medically retired from serving receiving one as well?
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Codi's Opinion
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07/19/2016
Absolutely and pay for it by decreasing their own salaries.
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Argument opposed

Veterans deserve compensation for service-related disabilities, but the increase shouldn't be tied to whatever the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security is.

Garth's Opinion
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07/12/2016
The VA does a terrible job ensuring only truly disabled veterans are receiving benefits. There is way too much waste to trust the administration with more funding.
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Nathan's Opinion
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07/20/2016
Economically speaking, COLA adjustments already overcompensate consumers compared to inflation (due to the nature of the "basket of goods" included in COLA and inflation). Increasing COLA further would only increase this disparity and makes little sense.
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Ron's Opinion
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07/22/2016
Their pay should already be adjusted every 4 years for cost of living. Congress should be lowered.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5588?

This bill would increase the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) made for veterans who receive some form of disability compensation.

The COLA is determined by a Congressional committee that refers to annual increases in Social Security compensation, which increase automatically.

According to the most recent Census data (2014), there are 3.8 million veterans with a service-related disability. Disability compensation is applied to veterans who are at least 10 percent disabled due to injuries and/or diseases that they received during their military service.

Impact

U.S. veterans with disabilities; their families; and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5588

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Last year, the House passed a similar bill that would create an automatic cost-of-living adjustment for veterans. That bill is currently with the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. According to sponsoring Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA), this legislation is necessary to prevent government gridlock blocking cost-of-living adjustments for veterans.

“The current process leaves veterans and their families, who depend on these benefits to make ends meet, in limbo until Washington actually passes legislation,” Abraham said.

The current 2016 rates of compensation for disabled veterans are the same as they were in 2015, since Congress didn't pass an increase. Veterans seeking disability claims are required to file applications with the VA. The VA evaluates each claim and then assigns the applicant a rating that falls between 0 (a disability that doesn’t merit compensation) and 100 percent (total disability).


Media:

Summary by Eli Wolfe
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Fort Rucker)

AKA

Veterans' Compensation COLA Act of 2016

Official Title

To increase, effective as of December 1, 2016, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedJuly 22nd, 2016
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed July 13th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed July 11th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJune 28th, 2016

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    Let's make it fair, increase COLA for Disabled Vets on the same rate Congress increases their pay. I'm very sure Disabled Vets would accept this same increase. Now let's move on to Social Security Disability COLA....
    Like (83)
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    The VA does a terrible job ensuring only truly disabled veterans are receiving benefits. There is way too much waste to trust the administration with more funding.
    Like (5)
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    Being a disabled Veteran I will say that in the three years I have been receiving my benefits and using that money as my primary source of income, that the cost of groceries has increased, my property taxes have gone up, and pretty much anything else that I purchase as either need or necessity has risen. But the one thing that hasn't been adjusted for is my disability benefit. Given that everything else is going up in price, it would only be fair if for myself and other disabled Veteran's like me if our benefits were increased to keep up with the ever rising cost of inflation. Service members on Active Duty receive a COLA adjustment, and so do those members who are in the Guard and the Reserve. So then why aren't disabled Veterans who were medically retired from serving receiving one as well?
    Like (57)
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    Absolutely and pay for it by decreasing their own salaries.
    Like (32)
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    Yes and while they are working on it- why do veterans have to pay taxes? They should be considered 'paid in full '
    Like (22)
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    COLA should be mandatory for all vets, but especially for the disabled.
    Like (21)
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    Yes, and for disabled civilians, as well, especially seniors who have been abandoned by their family members!
    Like (15)
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    Yes. They are woefully undercompensated as it is, given what they've been through. If it costs too much, slap a tax on the corporations whose interests they've been fighting for.
    Like (14)
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    When Our nation needed them these vets answered the call to serve. We OWE them a cost of living increase. I watched a guy get out of his truck with his 2 small children. He had 1 arm minus a few fingers, 1 leg with some awful scars. Other leg was gone at mid thigh and he had a prosthetic arm. In the check out line he & kids got behind me. I asked him where he served both Iraq & Afghanistan & thanked him for his service. He was using a SNAP card to pay for his groceries. Give him and other vets the dignity of a cost of living raise to just say thanks. While on vets and what we owe them:FIX THE VA!
    Like (10)
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    There should be only one COLA formula in the government. Increases should be indexed using the same formula.
    Like (9)
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    This is a no brainer. COLA for our veterans shouldn't be tied with any other bills - period. It has nothing to do with Social Security. Furthermore, absolutely NONE of our active duty, retired, or disabled veterans should live in poverty. They served their country with honor and made more sacrifices than any civilian could even imagine. None of their retirement income should be taxable. The commissary and BX needs to be returned to active duty management. The prices on base are very rarely cheaper than on the economy because they are civilian run now. They pay a surcharge on everything instead of a tax on only some things. The money for these benefits can come from several places.... Paying social security benefits to those that just recently became citizens should stop. Paying welfare benefits to non citizens should stop - that includes SNAP benefits. Freezing the pay of all congress, senate, executive branch, judicial branch, staffers, etc. only those that put their lives on the line for us get raises. 15% budget cuts in area such as EPA, Dept of Interior, Dept of Education, etc. all grants stop - period. No free money. All aid to foreign countries stop. Send Obama a bill for the $150 billion he sent to Iran. He bottom line is this... We need to realign our priorities. Let's sit down with a copy of the Constitution and start scratching things off the spending list that aren't covered in our Constitution. Then let's start honoring the promises made to our heroes that served.
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    Veterans, particularly disabled veterans, are becoming an increasingly marginalized group as far as govt benefits are concerned. We need more support for the people who made a great sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms this country guarantees. More benefits for vets, better medical care for vets, plain and simple. Let this be a step in the right direction
    Like (8)
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    Anyone who qualified to receive a government check deserves to have a COLA when the cost of living rises. All government programs that give COLAs should have a mandated method of calculating it. The same base and method should be used for every person who receives compensation. This would include retirees, disabled persons, AFDC, Food Stamp recipients, etc. -- everyone that qualifies to receive government financial support should be included.
    Like (6)
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    We disabled them, we need to help care for them! And not govt COLA, back date and count real inflation in that increase!
    Like (6)
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    Cost Of Living Adjustment. Exactly that. Not a raise. Not an additional benefit. It just offsets a de facto reduction in compensation for disabilities incurred in the defense of our country.
    Like (6)
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    Definitely yes. And while we are on the subject matter, tell the Senate Committee to get off their butts and make a decision on the bill that was proposed last year to make their increases automatic so that it is not necessary to submit interim bills which is inefficient. Our VETS should not be affected because of a dysfunctional system. If the issue with last year's bill is because the increase is tied to the cost-of living adjustment for Social Security, then determine the right approach, and get on with it.
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    Absolutely! These fine folks have sacrificed everything to keep our nation safe! Quit screwing over Veterans and give them what they earned!!!!
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    It's way past time to take better care of our vets.
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    It's one thing to cheer our men and women in uniform around the world. That's what we need to do. But to ignore and turn our backs on them when they return to civilian life is unconscionable. Because military service in the US is not mandatory, most of us don't know what a hard, dangerous sacrifice it is to be in the military. I for one do not. But I don't think that these people should be left to fend for themselves when they return. And for some of them that means begging on street corners. They put their lives on the line for us. The very least we can do is part with a little of our money in gratitude for their years of service.
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    If you dont love the Veterans who sacrificed for your freedom, you dont deserve your freedom. Now shut up, nut up, and give some veterans their well EARNED bonuses. Thanks, Sincerely, a patriotic American.
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    Congress got a pay raise, so why not give our vets a cost of living raise. They at least earned theirs.
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