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March 30, 2023

King-Sponsored Veterans Benefit Bill Passes Senate Unanimously

Cost-of-living adjustment will help thousands of Maine veterans keep up with growing costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today celebrated the Senate unanimously passing bipartisan legislation he co-sponsored that would increase benefits for 30,000 Maine veterans and their families. As Maine people continue to struggle with rising costs, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2023 would give the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) disabled veteran compensation, surviving families payments, and clothing allowances the same annual cost-of-living adjustment as Social Security. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives where it is expected to receive broad support.

As costs for Maine veterans grow, Congress has a responsibility to make sure veterans’ benefits are keeping pace,” said Senator King. “This bipartisan benefit increase is an essential step to help ensure those who served aren’t struggling to put food on their tables or keep a roof above their head. I’m grateful that my Senate colleagues unanimously understood the importance of this bill and the obligation we all share to provide veterans the support they are owed.”

Unlike Social Security, Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) benefit programs do not receive an automatic annual cost-of-living increase. The Veterans’ COLA Act of 2023 would provide the same cost-of-living increase determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on December 1, 2023 for the following VA benefit programs:

  • Disability compensation for veterans with a rating of 10% or higher.
  • Special Benefit Allowance
    • Includes payments to eligible veterans who receive an automobile allowance, a clothing allowance, or a Medal of Honor pension.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for surviving spouses, DIC for surviving children, and supplemental DIC for surviving children.
    • DIC is the rate of compensation paid to survivors of service members who die in the line of duty, or veterans who die from service-related injuries or diseases. DIC is a monthly benefit.

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator King has worked to ensure America’s veterans receive their earned benefits and that the VA is properly implementing various programs, such as the PACT Act and the John Scott Hannon Act. Senator King hopes to help improve the Department’s capacity by investing in its workforce, facilities, and other modernization efforts.

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