CBO Estimates COLA Increase

An August 8, 2013 estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) anticipates that veterans benefits will have a 1.5% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), effective 1 December 2013 and seen in the January payments.

The cost estimate is in response to S 893, the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2013.  S 893 authorizes COLA increases of 1.5% for veterans disability payments and Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity payments.  The bill has passed out of committee and awaits the vote of the entire Senate.  A similar House bill, HR 569, is currently pending in the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  Most experts agree that they are likely to pass, but we can never be sure.

COLA increases are automatic for military retirement pay, and other federal benefits such as Social Security.  However, benefits paid by the VA must be separately approved by Congress.

A 1.5% increase is not large, but it is better than nothing and obviously more than the zero percent increase of 2010 and 2011.  Let’s all be happy that there is a chance of an increase at all!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Yuyin

    AMEN to that!!!!!

    • Donnell

      That’s great that we’re getting a COLA raise. My problem is that I haven’t got the last two raises.

  • pablo ortiz
  • Oliver

    In regards to the last statement that we all should be happy there is a chance of an increase is shameful at best because I sent Mr Byrd of NC about their increases of which his reply was they are automatic for them and they have no control over it but ask if they ever thought about turning them down,well you know how that turned out.

  • Steve

    When it comes to pay and benefit increases for Congress Members and other Federal employees….Nothing interferes with that and it is always at the highest end of that scale…..Congress has made SURE the increases they received are set as an automatic thing, so they do not get into any difficulties with their folks at home!!!!! At the same time, all veteran and retirees pay and benefit increases are at the MERCY of the politicians…..go figure…..

  • Joshua1110

    So I will get a .5% increase in COLA. That works for me. To anybody considering the CSB don’t do it. A $30,000 dollar check isn’t worth the loss in the long run.

  • Jo, what the hell are are you trying to say?

  • Lee

    Joshua, I suppose that you will go out and get drunk with joy after I correct you by saying that the recommended COLA increase is 1.5%, NOT .5%. Now you will feel like you are as rich as Bill Gates. LOL

  • Yuyin

    Lee, that was a good one!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

  • Illena welter

    Congress should get 1.5 too

    • Louis

      agreed, well at least I can buy toilet paper


    I second the motion, Illena!!!!

  • Joseph Diggs Sr

    Thanks and i hope Veterans will recieve this modest increase and realize those in other areas of employment will recieve “Nothing”.

    • Mr Diggs, you too can get this 1.5% raise in your benefits. Please sign up to lay your life on the line for your country. And as for the comment about people in other areas of employment receiving nothing? You receive your increases based on your performance, if you don’t receive a raise, that should tell you something about the job you do!


    congress should get what earned. OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • Norman E. Duquette

    Those “computing” the Cost of Living Index apparently do not shop for their groceries, with Milk now $4.00 per gallon, bread $2. per loaf, coffee at $16. per pound, pineapples at $2. each, bananas at 29 Cents each, eggs at $2. per dozen . I do most of our grocery shopping and have done so for years. In the past year Prices have increased by an average of about 40%. Who is doing the Cost of Living calculations and upon what are they basing their Cost of Living??? It don’t figure. Figures do not lie but liars can figure. “Duke” Duquette

  • Gary

    How does that go again… Oh ya Tip O’niel from Ma. once said.
    Don’t tell me I know what the little people think.
    As long as Congress thinks of us as the little people, just how much do you think they think we deserve. Tell me again how much they get to setup their office and staff when elected, sorry to many 0’s. Greed is what America stands for today and until that changes we are heading the way of collapes.

  • doug

    It is said that a veteran’s worst enemy is another veteran. In our case I believe our worst enemy is the politician we continue to re-elect. Election after election we do not research those politicians who vote against veterans and common sense. When I look at the ballot, I look to see who the incumbent is then vote the opposite. We gotta get rid of this current idiotic group of politicians. I would vote for Tammy Duckworth who took a pay cut after getting elected to Congress.

  • khawk62

    Not everyone gets the full COLA increase. Disability COLA increases are reduced to the next lowest whole dollar. For example, if the COLA would increase your payment to $250.95/mo, you would only get $250.00/mo. Someone on 20% disability would get an effective 1.2% instead of 1.5%. This has been going on for many years as a cost-cutting measure and is cumulative, so next year’s COLA increase would be on top of this year’s reduced amount, then rounded down again.

  • Robert Kaplowitz

    How many congessmen and senators have served in the military? What percentage of the VA administrators have served ? Their first duty is to look to benefit the young men and women that agree to risk life and limb for their country ? What is the value of a hand or leg due to injury in this country or in combat ?

    It is time for a commitment from the people we elect to fairly compensate and care for the military that allows them to be safe and much too prosperous.

    • I just got an email on this the other day. MANY, MANY more Democratic Congressmen have served in the armed forces than republican congressmen.

  • M&T

    I’ve been waiting for years now for thousands of dollars in out of pocket medical expenses despite my prompt filings of VA Form 21-8416’s!

    All this while they keep on paying themselves bonuses and other perks!

    Our Government – Screwing the American Veterans since the Revolutionary War…

    • annie

      where do you get that form on this system….21-8416? please help..thanks annie

  • jerry bosko

    all elected officials should be drug tested be for they get paid.

  • annie

    I need to quickly get to the form of 21-8416….can someone advise me where to locate same….annie