By Kyle Lovern
November 14, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Noting the need to boost Veterans benefits, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) late Tuesday supported passage of legislation in the House that will increase benefits for veterans with service-connected disabilities and their survivors.
“We have a responsibility to our veterans to ensure that their disability benefits and the compensation promised to their families keep pace with inflation and I will continue to press hard so that our veterans and their families can get the full benefits that were promised to them,” said Rahall.
The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, which was has been passed by the House and Senate and now will be sent to the White House to be signed into law, directs the VA to provide increases in the rates of compensation for service-connected disabilities and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for surviving spouses and children of veterans who die of service-connected causes. The rates, effective December 1, 2013, would be increased by the same percentage as the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which is 1.5 percent beginning in January 2014.
Rahall has argued that the current inflation index for measuring annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) is inadequate and has cosponsored legislation, entitled the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act, that would create a new inflation index to help ensure that Social Security and Veterans beneficiaries receive an annual COLA that keeps pace with rising prices incurred by seniors and veterans.
“The measure the House passed yesterday will help our veterans and their families but clearly there is a need to do more, which is why I am pressing for legislation to revamp the annual inflation index used for veterans and Social Security beneficiaries. My bill would be a good first step toward ensuring a COLA that better meets the needs of our veterans and seniors,” said Rahall.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 29,211 veterans receiving disability compensation or pension payments in West Virginia.