Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed into law the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COA) Act of 2023. Although this law is regularly passed with bipartisan support and signed into law without much commotion, it serves an important function. Specifically, this Act instructs the Department of Veterans Affairs to give VA benefits recipients the same cost-of-living adjustment as the Social Security Administration gives to Social Security recipients.

When the 2024 COLA Increases Take Effect

Although the law authorizing the COLA increase was passed in June 2023 and officially announced earlier this month, veterans will not see any increase to their benefits until January 2024. Until the COLA takes effect, veterans who are receiving disability benefits will continue to receive the same amount of benefits as they are presently receiving.

Amount of COLA Increase for 2024 Announced

VA benefit recipients will see a 3.2 percent increase to their benefits beginning in January 2024. For a veteran living alone with a ten percent disability rating, this means that their monthly benefit amount would go from $165.92 to $171.23. That same veteran with a 100 percent disability rating would see their monthly benefit increase to $3,737.85.

The COLA increase approved each year is tied to the Consumer Price Index, which is supposed to measure the change in the cost of goods and services in an urban marketplace. Last year, the COLA increase was nearly nine percent. This year’s increase is not even half of that, reflecting a slowing rate of inflation.

How VA Benefits are Impacted by the COLA Increase

If you presently receive VA disability benefits, you can expect to see those benefits increase automatically once the increase goes into effect in January. There is no additional action that you need to do other than to monitor your payments and ensure they increase as expected.

Veterans who apply for disability benefits and whose effective date is on or after January 1, 2024 should begin to receive benefits at the 2024 rates. Again, there is nothing the veteran would need to do other than to monitor their disability payments to ensure they are being paid at the correct rate.

Finally, if you are a veteran whose claim has an effective date prior to January 1, 2024, and whose claim is approved after the new pay rate goes into effect should receive retroactive benefits paid at the rate in effect from the time of their effective date up until January 2024, when the new rate would come into effect. 

Assuming the claim is approved in 2024, future benefits would be paid at the 2024 rate until that rate increases because of another COLA increase.

If You Have Questions, Centonzio Law Has Answers

Calculating VA disability benefits is not as easy as it may seem, especially when you are trying to calculate the retroactive benefits you are owed. If you have questions about the disability benefits you may be entitled to, call Centonzio Law right away at (800) 342-2727 or reach out to us online and schedule a consultation.