Money on a table

Proposed COLA Adjustment for 2025: Impact on VA Benefits

As October approaches, the Senate is preparing to discuss a pivotal bill that may introduce a significant cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. This legislative effort, spearheaded by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and ranking member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), is designed to synchronize the increase in veterans’ benefits with the inflation adjustments seen by Social Security recipients.

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The Proposed Legislation Unpacked

This bill proposes an increase in compensation rates for veterans with service-connected disabilities and for surviving family members starting in 2025. Tester promotes the legislation as crucial, arguing it’s vital to ensure that veterans’ benefits align with the economic demands of modern life. This approach underscores a legislative effort to provide veterans with financial stability that matches the rising cost of living.

Annual Adjustments and VA Benefit Dynamics

Nearly 5 million veterans currently rely on monthly benefits from the VA, which would see an increment should this COLA legislation pass. Additionally, the adjustment would extend to various VA programs, including disability compensation and clothing allowances. While such measures are introduced annually and typically pass without significant controversy, the repetitive nature of these adjustments highlights a persistent shortcoming in how veterans’ benefits are structured—they lack a mechanism to automatically align with inflation, necessitating yearly legislative action.

Political Support and Legislative Timelines

The bill has garnered bipartisan support, with over a dozen senators endorsing it. Despite this backing, the legislative process’s timing and transparency are less clear. The House and Senate’s schedules, including a significant break before the November elections, add complexity to when and how the bill will be pushed forward, potentially stalling its progress.

Veterans’ Financial Security at Stake

Advocates of the legislation, including Tester, emphasize its potential to significantly ease the financial pressures on veterans and their families amid escalating living costs. This adjustment is seen as a critical step in preventing economic hardship among veterans, suggesting that current benefit levels might not suffice to meet their needs without regular updates.

Expansion of VA Healthcare Benefits

The Biden administration has overseen an extensive expansion of VA healthcare benefits, now including services for veterans affected by asbestos and other hazards. This expansion, facilitated by recent legislation such as the Honoring Our PACT Act and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, aims to provide earlier healthcare access and legal avenues for veterans affected by environmental hazards during their service.

Deeper Systemic Challenges

The ongoing need for annual COLA legislation indicates a deeper systemic issue within the VA: a lack of enduring solutions that adapt veterans’ benefits to ongoing economic changes without requiring constant legislative intervention. This situation calls for a fundamental rethinking of how veterans’ benefits are structured to ensure they automatically adjust to reflect economic realities.

Looking Forward: The Need for Comprehensive VA Reform

As the debate over the proposed COLA increase unfolds, it serves as a reminder of the broader challenges facing the veterans’ support system. The discourse around this bill highlights the need for comprehensive reforms that would provide veterans with stable, adequate support reflective of their service and sacrifices.

Conclusion: A Critical Juncture for Veterans’ Benefits

The current legislative efforts, while providing a temporary solution, underscore a pivotal moment for reassessing how the nation supports its veterans. Ensuring that veterans’ benefits are not only adequate but also proactive in addressing the dynamic challenges faced by those who served will be crucial in the ongoing dialogue about the future of the VA system and the well-being of its veterans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) and how does it affect veterans?

A Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is an increase in social security and other benefits to counteract inflation and rising living costs. For veterans, a COLA increase means that benefits such as disability payments, pensions, and allowances are adjusted upwards to maintain their purchasing power as prices rise.

Who proposed the 2025 COLA increase for VA benefits?

The 2025 COLA increase for VA benefits was proposed by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and ranking member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). They aim to align veterans’ benefits with the inflation adjustments similar to those received by Social Security beneficiaries.

Will all veterans’ benefits be affected by the COLA increase?

Yes, the proposed legislation aims to apply the COLA increase across various veterans’ benefits, including disability compensation, clothing allowances, and dependency and indemnity compensation. This ensures a comprehensive adjustment that benefits a wide range of veterans receiving different types of support.

What is the legislative process for the COLA increase to become law?

For the COLA increase to become law, the bill must first be discussed and passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Following this, it must be signed into law by the President. The bill will likely undergo several rounds of debate and amendments before it reaches the President’s desk.

How does the proposed COLA increase relate to broader VA reforms?

The need for annual COLA legislation highlights a broader systemic issue within the VA: the absence of a permanent, responsive mechanism to automatically adjust benefits in line with economic changes. The proposed COLA increase often reignites discussions about more comprehensive VA reforms that would create a more adaptive and enduring support system for veterans.

How can veterans find out if and when they will receive the COLA increase?

Veterans can stay updated on the status and details of the COLA increase through official VA communications, the Veterans Affairs website, and updates from veterans’ advocacy groups. Once the increase is officially passed and implemented, the VA will notify eligible veterans about the changes to their benefits and when they will take effect.

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  1. All they would have to do is give veterans $500 a month for life and wrap up all the bullshit at VA. That way veterans could buy health insurance and go wherever and actually get healthcare! That would be on top of any disability benefits. Right now, the shit is a fucking joke and the people at VA are just there to perpetuate the system and of course it’s political work for some asshole with nothing better to do with their pointless lives on Capitol Hill and within VA. It’s an iron rice bowl and conversation piece for politicians. Matt Geatz, who I dislike, had the best idea when it came to solving problems at VHA.. and that’s insurance cards. So to any Democrat at VA, I suggest to look even deeper at why so called far right politicians have gained so much traction. It’s your fucked up system that you blame on funding alone that causes this phenomenon but nobody is honest about the bigger picture of where the problems are at VHA. Some of your employees are also trash and the system is fucked up. YOU make up that system. Try being honest you fuckin assholes. Quit expecting us to be psychic and read through the lines.

  2. (I emailed this to Congress and the Administration today)

    According to Zippia online which is a wealth expertise website for investors in 2022 there were about 22 million millionaires in the U.S. of which 8.8 % of U.S. adults are millionaires. 33% of U.S. millionaires are women and having $1 million puts you in the top 10% of wealth in the U.S. There are about 62.5 million millionaires globally, a 11.4% increase from 2020.

    There were approximately 735 billionaires living in the USA in 2023.

    Presently the overwhelming majority of these wealthy Elites do not pay taxes on income like the Laboring Class (people who work) because they belong to the Investor Class where taxation is much less of a burden. For all intents and purposes they spend the tax year virtually tax free due to loopholes in the tax code that they routinely exploit.

    Our disabled veterans have been watching this situation grow worse as every year goes by. They know that there is a direct one to one relationship between their financial well being and solvency and the massive tax evasion of the Investor Class. In short, the wealthy are not in any way carrying their share of the tax burden and this gravely affects compensation to the broken former troops who sacrificed greatly to protect the overseas assets and holdings of that same class of wealthy Elites.

    Our disabled veterans are grossly under compensated and have been for generations. This is most especially true for our totally and permanently disabled veterans. Our disabled veterans have been asking various Congresses and Administrations for fair and adequate compensation since the end of WWI in November 1918. That was 105 years ago!

    In FY2024 a totally disabled veteran with no dependents is compensated at the ridiculous rate of $44,854.20 dollars annually. The National Average Wage Index (NAWI) for 2022 was $63,795.13 dollars per annum and the average income for 2022 was $66,765.00. The per capita GDP in 2022 was $76,399.00 dollars, among the highest in the world. This low rate of compensation to disabled veterans is deliberate and cruel.

    It is unconscionable that the wealthiest nation that ever existed compensates its disabled veterans at such a ‘low rent’ scale. This is a national disgrace.

    Perhaps the biggest problem with low compensation for disabled veterans is that we pay them only for projected lost wages. Quality of life payment is not included in their compensation which is the norm in the court system in personal injury cases.

    Disabled veterans realize that they are being manipulated and given short shrift by the wealthy and politically connected top 5% of the wealth pyramid who lobby Congress hard in order to keep their compensation low in order to ensure a low tax rate for the Elites.

    Since our wealthy Elites make their money by investments and not by personal labor they are not subjected to the same tax situation as a worker. That is wrong and it is causing all sorts of problems in the USA right now relative to revenue collection.

    It only exacerbates the already fierce divisions in the country due to the widening wealth gap between the Investor Class and the Laboring Class. And this disparity in turn severely affects quality of life for disabled veterans.


    We can levy at least a penny tax on every dollar traded on the stock market to pay for their compensation. The New York Stock Exchange alone traded about 4 billion shares a day in 2023. There are presently 13 separate stock exchanges operating in the USA.

    This would be a 1% tax on all stocks bought or sold on the stock market over and above the 1% tax already being levied on stocks transacted in corporate buybacks.

    It is long past time for our wealthy Elites to carry their fair share of the tax burden. To be very frank that Laboring Class sees them all as parasites on the system.

    Please introduce legislation now to set compensation at least at the level of the NAWI for ALL types of totally and permanently disabled veterans and/or give them federal tax exclusion for up to $125K per annum.

    This is a growing national security problem.

    We all need to fully understand the danger to all of us should this untenable situation for disabled veterans continue much longer.

    Once our young people fully comprehend that should they enlist in the armed forces and subsequently suffer serious illness or injury then they are looking at a lifetime of near poverty as disabled veterans then the armed forces will collapse. In truth, this is already happening. Enlistments are dangerously low.

    Ultimately this all boils down to our Elites refusing to be taxed at an adequate level thereby making proper revenue collection to fully compensate disabled veterans and other disenfranchised Americans impossible. Congress must correct this.

    1. Republicans benefit from underfunded, fked up government systems because they piss people off and drive small government and anti government sentiment.. which they profit from at the ballot box. Meanwhile, they’re behind the scenes making promises to the rich and creating these conditions. What Democrats are supposed to do about such a scheme is beyond me. Meanwhile, you do have conservatives in some of these bureaucratic systems and who knows what their part in making these systems what they are. And they say that veterans prefer to see other veterans working for VHA, but if you think about it, veterans are used to functional authoritarian systems (the military) where complaints are usually the individuals problem, so they aren’t gonna be the ones to fight against a dysfunctional system or do anything to “miss chow.” “If you don’t like it.. leave” and “suck it up” is a prevalent mentality held by service members. That and “it is what it is.”

  3. Need to start a program called “Insurance cards or passports” meaning issue veterans their choice of an insurance card or a passport outta here so they can get medical care. I know guys that need surgery that cost $100,000 and they sent them home to rot away in pain instead. Those individuals have college degrees and could significantly benefit the economy and pay that money back in taxes easily.. but instead they’re at home wasting away in pain without income and resources to get the surgery. One is saving benefits to pay for the surgery which will take him years. Many veterans in this boat and the VA is covering this up. They won’t do surgery until you are old or you were involved in a life threatening emergency. They (VA) has the money, they just have bad policy that dictates it shouldn’t be spent. Just a collosal failure and doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. So many lives ruined because they trusted those confidence men and women who work there and weren’t honest with the veteran when they first arrived.

  4. First and most importantly, Senator Jon Tester is just doing this to help get re elected, Jon Tester chairman on the VA committee is a wasteful useless moron who cares less about Veterans period. I live in Montana, with this moron, I being a 100% Disabled combat Veteran has issues getting medical care at the local VA, I wrote letters to Jon Tester all ignored, one day wife and I went out for a morning coffee, as ordered the coffee, I turned around and their is Jon Tester, being me I told him I requested help from him etc etc and he never answered and that he does little for the Veterans or Montana. Then one of his cohorts comes over and asks the issue with the VA, I explained she said she would help me. Two weeks later I get a letter from Jon Tester on his letterhead saying that I should never contact him, his staff or office again other wise he will take legal harassment action against me, I have this letter in my possession if anyone wants a copy. Never trust anything the government or these elected people say. As for the COLA the COLA is already in place for Veterans and has been for years so why do we require another duplicate bill to get what is already there?

    1. Just a bit of advice J.B., if I did not spend 28 years on my VA cases literally read all of denied veterans reasons for systematic across our nation failures. I would still be lost in space like so many Combat Vets, after all of my work my benefits from 2007-2016 increased. Reason was I studied every VA Form needed to put myself in a position for a tip in a balance to me. Finally, and most importantly I was represented by a Veterans Service Team American Lejion. In a period of 2 years my cases were raised to 100%, plus 150K owed from all of my claims I put in. I also contacted over a lot of years 3 Contacts in Wa D.C. Senator Lewis, McCain, and Feinstein it made it all work out. Use any books from VA you may find online or at a facility, and remember to never ever stop your work on your own cases because I am officially paid SMC and disability.

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