2021 cost-of-living adjustment for veterans, Social Security announced

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This story originally published on Sept. 24, 2020 at 5:31 p.m. EST. It was updated at 6:35 and 7:05 p.m. to include lawmakers' comments and again on Oct. 13, 2020 at 12:10 p.m. to reflect the officially announced increase percentage.

Veterans will likely see an about 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment for their benefits in 2021.

Capitol Hill lawmakers in September approved a cost-of-living increase for veterans benefits in 2021, which is set to match the increase approved by the Social Security Administration for its beneficiaries.

The House passed the legislation in May and the Senate passed it in late September, sending it to the president's desk for final approval to become law. As of Oct. 13, the president had not yet signed the bill into law, but it had been presented to him. 

The bill, sponsored in the House by Navy veteran Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Virginia and Rep. Mike Bost, R-Florida, and introduced in the Senate by Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman  Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and ranking member Jon Tester, D-Montana, was approved by bother chambers unanimously and affects disability payments. dependent compensation, survivor benefits and clothing allowances.

“As a 20-year Navy veteran, I understand how important it is to ensure that veterans’ benefits reflect the rising costs of living,” Luria said in a statement. 

The cost of living increase is set to go into effect Dec. 1, 2020.

Early forecasts suggested the 2021 increase might be one of the lowest in recent years, with early estimates suggesting anywhere from 1.1% to 1.3%. 

Last year, veterans and Social Security beneficiaries received a 1.6% cost-of-living increase. In 2019, the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security was a 2.8% increase.

“This cost of living adjustment makes certain that the benefits provided to our veterans through programs at the VA are aligned with inflation and will ensure that our veterans receive the resources they need to succeed in a changing economy and market,” Moran said in a statement following the Senate vote. 

“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. 

The Social Security Administration bases their annual COLA adjustment on the Consumer Price Index, determined each December by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.
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