February 9, 2016 Today the U.S. House passed legislation to increase veterans' benefits and address the VA appeals backlog.
Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada's First Congressional District spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to address lawmakers about the passage of H.R. 677, American Heroes COLA Act of 2015, which will increase Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for veterans and address the VA appeals backlog.
• The legislation will mandate the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to automatically increase disability assistance payments when the Social Security Administration approves a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
• The Consumer Price Index Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) will determine the COLA increases.
• The VA secretary will increase disability payments by the rate at which Social Security Administration raises its benefits. It will also increase compensation for dependents, clothing allowances, and compensation for surviving spouses and children
• The legislation will also accelerate benefits claims applications with the Department of Veterans Affairs for the terminally ill, homeless, Medal of Honor recipients, former prisoners of war, sexual trauma victims, and others who served in the military.
• The legislation will also address the VA’s backlog of benefits appeals by creating a pilot program to expedite some cases and a task force to examine the appeals process.