Despite news on the impending fiscal cliff, benefits for disabled veterans to increase come January 1st. According to an AL.com report, President Obama recently signed a bill that will increase the cost-of-living adjustment to match those enjoyed by Social Security recipients and retired military personnel. The new law will reportedly affect four million veterans and their families that may receive disability compensation as well as survivor benefits that veterans’ spouses and children may depend on.
Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana), explained that the bill exemplifies Congress’ responsibility to keep pace with today’s economic realities so that the government’s promise to all disabled veterans is upheld.
While the change is geared towards matching the annual increases to Social Security payments (which are based on adjustments to the Consumer Price Index), Congress must approve disability and survivor benefits on an annual basis. There are reportedly efforts in the works to eliminate this annual vote to adjust these benefits.
Additionally, veterans will also have the benefit of receiving electronic payments that go directly to their respective accounts instead of waiting for paper checks to arrive in the mail. While the option to receive electronic payments will be available soon, the U.S. Treasury Department will give recipients three months to switch to electronic payments.
The switch to electronic payment falls in line with the changes we previously discussed regarding changes to electronic filing, and could be step in the right direction to reduce the backlog of unaddressed disability claims.
Source: AL.com, Benefits for disabled veterans, survivors to increase slightly December 1st, November 29, 2012.
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