13 Oct 2021 • Military.com • By Jim Absher
Military retirees and veterans receiving disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will see their paychecks go up by 5.9% for 2022, triggered by inflation and an annual adjustment to the federal Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
That annual adjustment has averaged around 1.5% for the last 10 years.
The adjustment rate was announced Wednesday by the Social Security Administration. The VA is required by law to alter disability payment rates by that amount. While military retirement is not legally required to follow suit, the change is traditionally the same.
For 2022, retired military members will see a $59 increase for each $1,000 of military retirement pension they receive each month.
Retirees who entered military service on or after Aug. 1, 1986, and opted for the Career Status Bonus (CSB/Redux retirement plan) have any COLA increases reduced by 1%, so they will see a smaller increase in 2022. They should see a monthly increase of only $49 per $1,000.
Survivors receiving Survivor Benefit Plan payments will see the same increase of $59 per $1,000 in their monthly payments.
Disabled veterans will also get a bump. The average VA disability check will go up about $8.50 per month for those with a 10% rating, and $185.65 for those rated at 100%.
Military retirees and VA beneficiaries aren’t the only ones who benefit from the COLA increase. Civil Service retirees and Social Security recipients also will see the 5.9% jump in their monthly checks.
For Social Security recipients, the monthly increase will mean an extra $91 per month for the average beneficiary.
Each year, military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan Annuities, VA Compensation and Pensions, and Social Security benefits are adjusted for the rate of inflation.
The Department of Labor determines the annual COLA by measuring the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is a measurement of a broad sampling of the cost of consumer goods and expenses. The CPI is compared to the previous year; if there is an increase, there is a COLA. If there is no increase, there is no COLA.
The COLA affects about one in every five Americans, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, federal retirees and retired military members.
Retirees saw a 1.3% increase in 2021. The COLA increase was 1.6% in 2020.