Burr, Begich, Sanders Lead on Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Benefits to Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs', joined the Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) to introduce bipartisan legislation to increase benefits to veterans to keep up with the cost of living. The bill would make a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) available to veterans at the same level as the increase provided to Social Security beneficiaries. The annual COLA legislation impacts veterans disability payments and compensation for surviving spouses and children.

"Our nation's veterans selflessly gave themselves to defend our freedoms, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we provide them with the benefits and services they need and deserve," said Senator Burr. "This bipartisan legislation is one way we can help make sure we are keeping true to our promise to our nation's veterans and their families."

"The COLA increase is incredibly important to veterans everywhere, especially the 77,000 veterans living in Alaska who rely on these payments to feed their families, heat their homes, pay for prescription drugs, and to provide for the needs of spouses and children," said Senator Begich. "We have an obligation to the men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve our country and who now deserve nothing less than the full support of a grateful Nation. The COLA brings us one step closer to fulfilling our promise to care for our brave veterans and their families and I thank Chairman Sanders and Ranking Member Burr for their support."

"I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014," said Senator Sanders. "Congress has an obligation to ensure the benefits provided to veterans and their survivors do not erode over time and introduction of this bill brings us one step closer to honoring this commitment."

The Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the rates of veterans' compensation to keep pace with a rise in the cost-of-living, prompted by an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The legislation would make an increase available to veterans at the same level as the increase provided to recipients of Social Security benefits.

This year, it is projected that over 4.2 million veterans and survivors will receive compensation benefits.

Co-sponsors of this bill include Senators Blumenthal, Boozman, Brown, Heller, Hirono, Isakson, Johanns, Moran, Murray, Rockefeller, and Tester.