Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and the committee’s ranking member, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), have introduced a bill that would make sure that veterans benefits keeps pace with inflation.
The bill also has Senators John Rockerfeller IV (D-WV), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jon Tester (D-Mont), Mark Begich (D-AL), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-Neb), Jerry Moran (R-Kan), John Boozman (R-Ark) and Dean Heller (R-Nev) all supporting it.
The bill is designed to boost benefits for veterans with service-related disabilities and their survivors. There are more than 4.2 million veterans and survivors who are expected to receive compensation benefits next year.
Sanders stated that “Providing adequate financial compensation to our veterans and their families is our responsibility as a nation. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifices and these adjustments ensure that we fulfill that obligation.”
Burr added that “The men and women who have suffered service-related injuries while serving our nation and their survivors deserve to be compensated at a rate that reflects the current cost-of-living. One of my top priorities as ranking member is to ensure that they receive the assistance and care they have earned through their brave service.”
The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2013 would start increasing compensation benefits on 1 December 2013 and would tie the rise in benefits to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. This is the same index that determines the adjustments for Social Security benefits.
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have both seen a large rise in the number of veterans suffering from service related and connected injuries largely due to improvements in medical technology that has reduced the number of deaths in during the conflicts.