H.R. 570: American Heroes COLA Act

H.R. 570

American Heroes COLA Act

Sponsor
Rep. Jon Runyan

Date
May 21, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, May 21, 2013, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 570, the American Heroes COLA Act,under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on February 6, 2013 by Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ) and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, which held a mark-up and reported the bill by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 570 provides for an automatic increase in disability compensation and dependence and indemnity compensation indexed to Social Security cost of living increases.  Increases are effective December 1, 2014.  The bill provides that this increase will be round down to the nearest dollar, a provision which will sunset on September 30, 2018.  Lastly, H.R. 570 also provides for an increase in the special monthly compensation rates for severely injured veterans of roughly 30% effective December 1, 2014 through September 30, 2018.  On October 1, 2018, the rates would rise again to about 50% over current rates.

Background

The disability compensation program provides relief to disabled veterans.  This relief is consistent with the average earning impairment received in civilian occupations as a result of disability.  Every year, Congress passes legislation to set the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) of the disability program.  Social Security beneficiaries, on the other hand, automatically receive a COLA if there is an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

Rather than making veterans rely on Congress to pass an annual COLA bill, H.R. 570 permanently indexes the disability compensation program COLA to the Social Security COLA, so long as the percentage increase is calculated using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.  Additionally, the savings that result from the provision that rounds the COLA increase down to the nearest dollar will be used towards increasing the benefits for the most bereft: veterans who are severely injured or disabled.

Cost

There is no CBO score currently available.