House passes cost of living adjustment for veterans' benefits

The House approved legislation on Tuesday that would increase rates of benefit compensation for veterans with disabilities caused by their military service.

Passed 409-0, the measure hikes cost-of-living adjustments for benefits offered through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to keep up with inflation. Social Security benefits receive similar cost-of-living adjustments that occur automatically.

“Many disabled veterans and their families depend on VA benefits to pay for their housing, their food, and other necessities. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that VA benefits keep pace with the rate of inflation so that our nation's heroes are able to make ends meet,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).

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Cost-of-living adjustments for veterans’ disability benefits must be approved by Congress each year, unlike the automatic process for Social Security.

Another provision based off of legislation authored by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), would require the VA to pay any accrued benefits to a deceased veteran’s estate.

The VA currently pays accrued benefits to a deceased veteran’s family members, such as spouses or dependent children. But the VA keeps the benefit payments if the veteran dies without surviving qualifying family members.

Multiple bills regarding veterans are hitting the House floor this week. On Monday night, the House passed a measure by voice vote that would urge the VA to define military sexual assault as a service-connected cause of mental health disorders so that victims can receive disability benefits.

The House is further expected to vote Wednesday on legislation to make it easier for the VA to fire or demote employees based on poor performance.

 

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