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Disability payments may rise

Legislation to boost veterans’ cost-of-living adjustment passes House, Senate

WASHINGTON – Disabled veterans could receive up to $100 more per month under legislation headed for President Barack Obama’s desk.

The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, passed on a voice vote in the House on Wednesday after previously passing unanimously in the Senate. If it is signed, cost-of-living adjustments to veterans’ disability-related payments would match the 3.6 percent increase recently passed for Social Security recipients.

This increase is especially important for disabled vets not old enough to receive Social Security payments, said a spokesman for Murray, D-Wash.

The bill raises compensation rates for veterans with service-connected disabilities, additional rates for severe disabilities and rates paid to dependents of some disabled veterans. Disability compensation varies by the extent of a veteran’s disability and the number of dependents. The average compensation payment for a fully disabled veteran is about $3,000 per month.

The bill also raises the annual clothing allowance for veterans whose clothes are damaged due to their disability, such as wear and tear from a wheelchair. Rates paid to surviving spouses and children of veterans whose deaths were service-related will be raised as well.

The last cost-of-living increase was in 2009.