Federal officials recently announced a cost-of-living increase of 8.7% to their Social Security benefits. This is the largest increase in more than 40 years and will apply starting in December.
The increase has been put in place in response to rising inflation and will directly affect around 65 million Americans. It translates to an average increase of roughly $140 per month in payments Veterans and military retirees will also benefit from the increase because their benefits are tied to Social Security benefits.
Officially, the changes will come into place in 2023. But some people will see an increase in their payments from December.
The 8.7% increase means that a veteran receiving $1,500 each month will get about $130 extra next year. Some will argue that this is still too low, and may not be enough to cover the increased cost in regular expenses.
The Consumer Price Index reached 8.2% in September, a high figure that may indicate a continuing trend of high costs. Around 7 million veterans and military retirees will benefit from the increased payouts, which will be applied to disability compensation, clothing allowance, dependency and indemnity benefits, and additional VA programs.
Despite the increase in benefits payments for veterans and retirees, many who are entitled to them are still missing out. There are still many who are unaware of what they may be entitled to or veterans who have been denied benefits when they have applied. Veterans often turn to a veterans lawyer for legal assistance on a range of issues that affect them regarding benefits and more.
The right legal support can help veterans and retirees pursue the benefits that they are entitled to, as well as compensation for injury during their service.
The Supreme Court recently heard a case regarding whether veterans can claim retroactive benefits from the Veterans Administration. There already exists a federal statute that allows veterans to claim backdated benefits if they file their claim within a year of being disabled.
However, the case addresses whether veterans are entitled to claim backdated benefits over decades, centering on a veteran who did not make a claim for 30 years. Navy veteran Adolfo Arellano was disabled in 1980 due to an aircraft carrier collision but didn’t file for benefits until 2011. Veteran organizations have filed briefs in his support, including a group of veterans subjected to the Army’s Edgewood Arsenal human experiments, who were sworn to secrecy and so could not claim benefits for many years.
Another change in VA benefits relates to survivor benefits for same-sex spouses. Those who were in long-term relationships but were unable to legally marry before 2015 may qualify for benefits due to a recent policy change.
Couples are required by law to be married for at least a year before the surviving spouse can make a claim. However, the policy change addresses the fact that many couples may have been unable to marry before the Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage.
Many veterans, retirees, and military spouses may be entitled to additional benefits. While some changes will be applied automatically, it’s also important for anyone affected by various changes to ensure they are receiving what they are entitled to.