Veterans’ benefits rates to increase in 2018

Oklahoma residents may be pleased to hear that in 2018 United States veterans, as well as Social Security benefit recipients, will receive the largest cost-of-living increase since 2012. Beginning December 1, 2017, all will see a 2 percent increase in payments. This will amount to approximately $25 for the average veteran, that is, about an additional $300 in 2018. The larger increase is due in part to a disastrous hurricane season in 2017. Both hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked significant havoc, driving gas and other prices up.

The prices of consumer goods are the measurement by which the government determines a cost of living adjustment each year. This measurement is known as the Consumer Price Index. The government examines the Consumer Price Index for the third quarter of the year (July through September), and compares it the same quarter of the previous year when deciding on how much to increase the cost of living adjustment. This increase affects around 1.96 million retired veterans, four million veterans with disabilities, 61 million individuals who receive Social Security benefits and 8 million individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Veteran pensions, veteran disability and surviving family payments will see their first increased payment on December 31, 2017. Veterans who retired during 2017 will only see a partial cost-of-living raise, as military pay was already increased in January 2017.

Veteran pensions provide low-income veterans and their families with supplemental income. However, they are only payable under strict eligibility guidelines. Appealing the denial of such benefits can be a stressful and time-consuming ordeal. An attorney familiar with veterans’ pension issues may be able to help a family better understand the government’s reasoning in issuing a denial of benefits, as well as assist in filing an appeal of that decision.

Source: Military Benefits, “2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA),” Accessed Nov. 21, 2017

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