Veterans receiving government benefits will see a cost-of-living boost in 2021, if Social Security officials approve one for their recipients later this year.
On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to link the two federal payouts, sending it to the White House to become law. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure in the next few days.
The bill is not controversial, and routinely passes Congress each year without opposition. But, under current law, lawmakers must approve linking the two increases in order for veterans to see the pay boost. Efforts to permanently tie the two sets of increases have made little progress in recent years.
In a statement, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and committee ranking member Jon Tester, D-Mont., praised the bill’s passage as important for veterans and the country.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve to have Washington in their corner working tirelessly to ensure they can keep up with the rising costs of housing, utilities, and food when they return to civilian life,” Tester said. “Today’s passage is a clear sign that we’re making good on our promises to those who’ve served.”
Earlier this year, bill sponsor Rep. Eliane Luria, D-Va., called it Congress' “duty” to ensure veterans' benefits keep pace with rising costs.
Social Security officials are expected in coming weeks to announce the size of the annual cost-of-living adjustment, if there is one. Last year, the figure was 1.6 percent. Two years ago, it was 2.8 percent.
Veterans benefits covered include disability compensation, compensation for dependents, clothing allowances, and dependency and indemnity compensation checks.
If there is a COLA increase to benefits checks, it will go into effect starting this December.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.