Senate passes Tester’s veterans cost-of-living increase

Senator’s bipartisan bill will support disabled veterans and their families

(U.S. SENATE) – The U.S. Senate this week took an important step for Montana’s veterans by passing bipartisan legislation to provide disabled veterans and survivors with a cost-of-living increase.

Tester’s bill would provide increases to several important veterans’ benefits, including disability compensation and survivor benefits for spouses and children. The exact increase will be calculated in October when the most recent data is available, but the rate is anticpated to be between 1.5 percent and 2.0 percent.

Nearly 36,000 Montana veterans receive disability compensation or survivor pension payments. Another 1,602 Montana widows of veterans receive survivor benefits.

“Veterans’ health care has dominated the news, but disabled veterans and their families also receive critical benefits that help them make ends meet,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “It’s my job to make sure their benefits keep up with economic realities so we live up to the promises we make our fighting men and women.”

Tester was a key figure in approving the VA reform bill in July. He was a member of the conference committee that hashed out differences between the Senate and House of Representatives’ bills and has held five veterans listening sessions around Montana since June.

Tester also recently introduced legislation to help veterans suffering from hearing loss by allowing the VA to hire hearing aid specialists.

Every member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee sponsored the bipartisan cost-of-living adjustment bill. The measure will next will be considered by the House of Representatives.

A copy of the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014 is available online HERE.