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Senate passes Tester's bill to increase veterans compensation

Daily Inter Lake | April 5, 2023 12:00 AM

A bill that would increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and military survivors under the Department of Veterans Affairs passed a Senate vote last week.

The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, also known as COLA, was introduced by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who serves as the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman.

“This is really to ensure that hard earned benefits are keeping face with the rising costs of living,” Tester told the Inter Lake.

The legislation looks to increase certain benefits from the VA, including disability and dependent compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving families, and clothing allowances. The actual amount of the increase will be determined by the annual COLA adjustment to Social Security benefits. The adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index.

Tester, a Democrat, introduced the legislation alongside Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran.

“I’ll always fight to deliver veterans and their families the quality benefits they need and earned,” said Chairman Tester in a press release. “That’s why I’m proud to join Senator Moran in our bipartisan push to make certain their hard-earned benefits are keeping pace with the changing economy—a critical step in taking care of the men and women who risked their lives to protect our freedoms.”

If the legislation passes the House and is signed by President Joe Biden, it will go into effect Dec. 1, 2023.

Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at kheston@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.