S. 894: Veterans'' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011

S. 894

Veterans'' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011

Sponsor
Sen. Patty Murray

Date
November 2, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

S. 894 was introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) on May 5, 2011, and approved in the Senate by unanimous consent on October 19, 2011.  The House is scheduled to consider S. 894 on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority for approval.

Bill Summary

S. 894 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase, as of December 1, 2011, the rates of veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.  The bill would require each such increase to be the same percentage as the increase in benefits provided under Title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act, on the same effective date.

Background

Under current law, Social Security recipients and federal retirees automatically receive cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) pegged to the Consumer Price Index, but disabled veterans do not.  This bill would, beginning on December 1, 2011, increase the amounts paid to disabled veterans and to their survivors for dependency and indemnity compensation.  The increase would be calculated using the same cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) payable to Social Security recipients, and the resulting adjustment would be rounded to the next lower dollar.

Cost

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the COLA authorized by this bill is assumed in CBO’s baseline.  Therefore, the COLA provision would have no budgetary effect relative to the baseline.  From the CBO cost estimate: “Relative to current law, CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase spending for those programs by $475 million in fiscal year 2012. (The annualized cost would be about $630 million in subsequent years.) This estimate assumes that the COLA effective on December 1, 2011, would be 1.1 percent.” 

Because enacting S. 894 would not affect direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.