Tester introduces bipartisan bill to increase benefits for Montana veterans

Legislation will raise veterans’ disability compensation to reflect the rising cost of living

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has introduced bipartisan legislation to increase veterans’ VA disability benefits.

Tester’s Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015 will increase the VA disability compensation rates based on the rising cost of living. The increase also would apply to survivor benefits and pensions paid to low-income senior veterans.

In 2014, over 20,000 Montana veterans received disability compensation and over 4,000 VA disability claims were processed.

“We must live up to the promises made to the folks who served our nation,” Tester said. “Veterans and their families deserve this increase to keep up with the rising cost of living. This bill has strong bipartisan support, and I urge my colleagues to help quickly pass it on behalf of all veterans and their families who are trying to make ends meet.”

Under Tester’s bill, the VA cost of living adjustment will be equal to the cost of living increase provided to Social Security recipients this year, which is determined in the fall by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.

If enacted, veterans receiving disability benefits will see a monthly increase beginning on December 1, 2015.

Last Congress, Tester sponsored similar legislation that raised veterans’ disability compensation by 1.7 percent for 2015.

Tester’s bill is cosponsored by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).