Since we have been asked, the President’s signing of the 2013 National Defense Act last November authorized veterans to receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase of 1.7% in their compensation and pension payments. The same applied to survivors enrolled in either a pension or dependency and indemnity compensation program, and also to Social Security recipients and military retirees (except 2012 retirees and REDUX retirees).
The increase became effective on 1 December and appeared in the January paychecks — directly deposited on Dec. 31, 2012 — and affected about 4 million veterans, military retirees and survivors.
For the record, it should be noted that COLA adjustments in Social Security payments and retired pay for the military and federal employees are automatic. They are linked by law to changes in the Consumer Price Index, a measure of the cost of goods and services maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the increases in veterans’ disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and dependents and pensions for low-income veterans are not automatic. They require an Act of Congress. Veterans and their survivors are treated differently.
As of 31 December 2012; updated 16 January 2013