VA Disability Recipients And Retirees Are Getting Their Biggest Pay Raise Since 2012

Veterans Benefits
A fat stack of cash.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s Note: This article by Jim Absher originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.


Military retirees and those who receive disability checks and some other types of pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs will see a 2 percent pay raise in their monthly paychecks in 2018.

It is the biggest cost of living (COLA) increase since 2012, equaling as much as $310 a month for those at the top of the retirement pay charts.

Many Monthly Benefits Going Up

Thanks to the increase, the average military retirement check for an E-7 with 20 years of service will go up by $46 a month, while an O-5 with the same time in uniform will see an $88 monthly increase.

Disabled veterans will also see a bump, with the average VA disability check going up about $3 per month for those with a 10 percent rating, and $58 for those rated at 100 percent.

Other users, including Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiaries and those who draw Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), can also expect to benefit from the bump.

Military retirees and VA beneficiaries aren't the only ones who benefit from the COLA increase. Civil service retirees will also see the 2 percent jump in their monthly checks.

And for Social Security recipients, the monthly increase will mean an extra $25 per month for the average beneficiary.

Biggest COLA Bump in Years

Most government payments see a COLA increase every year. The increase, which is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), makes sure payments keep up with inflation.

Recipients can thank a big jump in the cost of gasoline due to Hurricane Harvey for the jump in the CPI that caused this year's COLA boost.

The COLA affects benefits for more than 70 million U.S. residents, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, federal retirees, and retired military members. That's about one in every five Americans.

Last year, the COLA increase was 0.3 percent; in 2015, retirees saw their checks remain at 2014 levels.

Lower Than the Active-Duty Pay Raise?

Congress is still hashing out the pay raise currently serving troops will receive for 2018.

Both a proposal passed by the Senate and a White House plan mandate a 2.1 percent increase. A measure passed by the House would instead give troops a 2.3 percent increase.

A decision on just what those troops will receive -- and whether what retirees and VA users will receive is lower -- has yet to be made. Lawmakers have recently started closed-door negotiations on the proposals.

Unlike that active-duty pay raise, the bump received by retirees and VA users does not require an act of Congress to go into effect. Those groups will see their pay raise in January regardless of what Congress does for current troops.

The article originally appeared on Military.com.

(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephane Belcher)

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.

On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.

Read More Show Less
The aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Strike Groups and ships from the Republic of Korea Navy transit the Western Pacific Ocean Nov. 12, 2017. (U.S. Navy/ Lt. Aaron B. Hicks)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The new acting secretary of the Navy said recently that he is open to designing a fleet that is larger than the current 355-ship plan, one that relies significantly on unmanned systems rather than solely on traditional gray hulls.

Read More Show Less
Maj. Mathew Golsteyn and 1st Lt. Clint Lorance (U.S. Army photos)

President Donald Trump, speaking during a closed-door speech to Republican Party of Florida donors at the state party's annual Statesman's Dinner, was in "rare form" Saturday night.

The dinner, which raised $3.5 million for the state party, was met with unusual secrecy. The 1,000 attendees were required to check their cell phones into individual locked cases before they entered the unmarked ballroom at the south end of the resort. Reporters were not allowed to attend.

But the secrecy was key to Trump's performance, which attendees called "hilarious."

Riding the high of the successful event turnout — and without the pressure of press or cell phones — Trump transformed into a "total comedian," according to six people who attended the event and spoke afterward to the Miami Herald.

He also pulled an unusual move, bringing on stage Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who Trump pardoned last month for cases involving war crimes. Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence for ordering his soldiers shoot at unarmed men in Afghanistan, and Golsteyn was to stand trial for the 2010 extrajudicial killing of a suspected bomb maker.

Read More Show Less
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles McGee (center), a decorated veteran of three wars, receives a congratulatory a send off after visiting with 436 Aerial Port Squadron personnel at Dover Air Force Base to help celebrate his 100th birthday in Dover, Delaware, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (Associated Press/David Tulis)

Retired Col. Charles McGee stepped out of the small commercial jet and flashed a smile.

Then a thumbs-up.

McGee had returned on a round-trip flight Friday morning from Dover Air Force Base, where he served as co-pilot on one of two flights done especially for his birthday.

By the way he disembarked from the plane, it was hard to tell that McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, was turning 100.

Read More Show Less
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove (Lincoln County Sheriff's Office)

A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.

Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.

Read More Show Less