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Veterans to Receive 1.5 Percent COLA Increase

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opinion Wadena, 56482

Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

David A Anderson, Wadena County Veteran Serice Officer

Veterans, their families and survivors receiving disability compensation and pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase in their monthly payments beginning Jan. 1.

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"We're pleased there will be another cost-of-living increase for veterans, their families and their survivors," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "The increase expresses in a tangible way our nation's gratitude for the sacrifices made by our service-disabled and wartime veterans."

For the first time, payments will not be rounded down to the nearest dollar. Until this year, that was required by law. Veterans and survivors will see additional cents included in their monthly compensation benefit payment.

For Veterans without dependents, the new compensation rates will range from $130.94 monthly for a disability rated at 10 percent to $2,858.24 monthly for 100 percent. The full rates are available on the Internet at www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/rates-index.asp.

The COLA increase also applies to disability and death pension recipients, survivors receiving dependency and indemnity compensation, disabled veterans receiving automobile and clothing allowances, and other benefits.

Under federal law, cost-of-living adjustments for VA's compensation and pension must match those for Social Security benefits. The last adjustment was in January 2013 when the Social Security benefits rate increased 1.7 percent.

In fiscal year 2013, VA provided over $59 billion in compensation benefits to nearly 4 million veterans and survivors, and over $5 billion in pension benefits to more than 515,000 veterans and survivors.

For veterans and separating service members who plan to file an electronic disability claim, VA urges them to use the joint DoD/VA online portal, eBenefits. Registered eBenefits users with a premium account can file a claim online, track the status, and access a variety of other benefits, including pension, education, health care, home loan eligibility, and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.

For more information about VA benefits, visit www.benefits.va.gov, or call 1-800-827-1000.

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us and as always have a great week.

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