Titus Celebrates the Passage of the American Heroes COLA Act

May 22, 2013
Press Release

May 22, 2013

*Watch Floor Speech Here*

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First District released the following statement today on the passage of the American Heroes COLA Act, H.R. 570. Introduced by Titus, the Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, and Subcommittee Chairman John Runyan (R-NJ), the American Heroes COLA Act would permanently adjust veterans’ benefits to include automatic cost of living increases, similar to adjustments to Social Security benefits. Prior to the passage of H.R. 570, Titus spoke on the House Floor in support of the bill.

"Unlike with Social Security COLA increases, Congress must act each year to provide veterans with the COLA increases they need and deserve. Our nation’s heroes should receive their full compensation payments each year, in a timely fashion, removed from the occasional logjam here on Capitol Hill,” Congresswoman Titus said. “Their livelihood should not be held hostage by political forces.”

"Nevada's veterans have struggled during this tough economic climate; their rates of unemployment and homelessness are disproportionately high, and as the cost of living has increased, so have their problems,” Titus continued. “By permanently adjusting benefits to include cost of living increases, we are providing critical peace of mind to those who have bravely served this country. They will have the security of knowing assistance will be there.”

H.R. 570 will direct the VA to increase rates of disability compensation for veterans with service connected disabilities, as well as rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of veterans with specific service connected disabilities. The bill will protect veterans’ benefits from deteriorating over time, as the cost of housing, medicine, food, and utilities increase.

Cost-of-Living Adjustments in veterans’ benefits, like Social Security benefits, are based on the Consumer Price Index Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).  Unlike Social Security benefit increases, veterans’ benefit increases rely upon Congress to pass legislation authorizing the increase.  H.R. 570 would authorize the Secretary of the VA to automatically increase veterans’ benefits yearly at the rate of the CPI-W.