On October, 15, 2015, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that due to low inflation this year, no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be made in 2016 for Social Security beneficiaries. Since that decision would also apply to veterans receiving financial benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, DAV issued a Commander’s Action Network alert on November 4, 2015, calling on our members and supporters to contact their House Members and Senators to urge them to introduce and enact legislation that would guarantee a reasonable COLA for wounded, injured, and ill veterans and their dependents and survivors.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and 18 of her colleagues have jointly introduced a bill, S. 2251, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefit Act. The bill would provide veterans and others in receipt of VA financial support a one-time payment of about $580 (calculated based on 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security payment). This one-time payment would soften the financial blow associated with the lack of an increase through a COLA, and the payment would be tax free. Payments would be disbursed to beneficiaries beginning 120 days after enactment. Even if eligible for multiple federal benefits payments, individuals could receive only one payment under this bill.
A one-time payment is not comparable to an annual COLA, and a one-time payment becomes less valuable to more seriously disabled veterans because of their higher cost of living. However, in absence of a COLA or other viable alternative, DAV calls upon its members and supporters to contact their elected officials in Congress and urge their support, co-sponsorship and passage of S. 2251. A letter for this purpose has been prepared for your use, or you may write a personalized message to inform your House Member and Senators of your support for this bill.
Thank you for your participation in the Commander’s Action Network, and for your support of DAV and our mission on behalf of wounded, injured and ill wartime veterans. Your activism makes DAV a more effective organization.
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