gettyimages 72308090 More money for vets in 2018

(Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

Next year, veterans will get the largest cost of living allowance (COLA) increase in half a decade. The 2 percent increase comes to about $300 more per month for anyone at the top of the retirement pay charts.  The COLA increase will be added to Veterans Affairs disability payments as well. More than 70 million Americans receive COLA.

If you have a 10 percent rating, you’ll see an additional $3 per check, and people with 100 percent ratings will get $58 more per month. The average Social Security recipient will make about $25 more each month, too.  For retirement checks, an E-7 with 20 years in will get $46 more each month and an O-5 with the same time in gets an increase of $88 per month.

COLA increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI for 2018 will be higher due to oil refinery damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, which made the cost of gas jump.  This year, the COLA increase was only 0.3 percent; in 2016, there wasn’t an increase at all.

Congress is still working out the pay raise for active duty military.  The Senate and White House both had a plan for a 2.1 percent increase.  The house passed a measure for a 2.3 percent one.  Unlike pay raises for military members, increases to retirees and VA users do not need an act of Congress to get this done.

The COLA increase will be added to retirement and VA benefit checks in January 2018. SSI payments will grow starting December 29 of this year.

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