Congress increased VA disability compensation for 2022 by 5.9 percent, the same amount as the cost-of-living (COLA) increase for Social Security disability and retirement benefits. The purpose of COLA increases is to keep pace with the actual purchasing power of the American dollar. If Congress did not make these annual adjustments, your VA disability check would have less value over time.
The cost-of-living adjustments only increase the amount of your VA disability pay. Congress does not reduce the amount of VA disability checks or Social Security benefits if the cost of living goes down. A Michigan Veteran Disability attorney can help you fight for the VA disability benefits you deserve. Here’s some more information about the 2022 VA disability rates to increase and what it means for you.
The New VA Disability Rates as of 2022
For the calendar year of 2022, a 100 percent disabled veteran with no spouse, children, or dependent parents will now receive VA disability benefits of $3,332.06 per month. If that same veteran has a dependent spouse, the 2022 monthly benefit will be $3,517.84. In that situation, the benefits can get increased by $170 a month for a spouse receiving Aid and Attendance.
A 100 percent disabled veteran with a dependent spouse and child can now receive $3,653.89 per month. Each additional child under the age of 18 in this situation can increase the monthly check by 92 dollars. Additional children over the age of 18 in a qualifying school program can increase the check by $198 per month.
An Overview of COLAs
Even when we are not officially in an inflationary period, the cost of living usually increases a little every year. Think of your groceries. A gallon of milk and a loaf of bread cost significantly more than they did 20 years ago. If your VA disability check never increased, over time, you could buy less and less with that check.
Every year, Congress determines how much the COLA will be for the following year. Congress votes in the fall on the COLA for the next year. The 2022 COLA increase actually went into effect on December 1, 2021.
There have only been three times in the last 20 years when there was no COLA increase: 2009, 2010, and 2015. For people receiving VA disability or Social Security checks in those years, their benefits remained the same until Congress voted the following year about the possibility of increases. The 2022 increase of 5.9 percent is the highest increase in the last 20 years, just edging out 2008, in which the increase was 5.8 percent. The lowest increase during that time was 0.3 percent in 2016.
You Might be Eligible for a Higher Disability Rating
Your disability rating is essential to the calculation of how much your monthly disability check will be. If your medical condition has worsened or you qualify under legislation that went into effect after your original VA disability rating, you might be eligible for a higher disability rating.
A Michigan Veteran Disability attorney can talk to you and explore the possibility of going for a higher disability rating, which would increase your monthly VA disability check. Contact our office today for legal assistance, we offer a free consultation.