Military retirees and those who receive disability checks and some other types of pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs will see a 2 percent pay raise in their monthly paychecks in 2018.
Many Monthly Benefits Going Up
Thanks to the increase, the average military retirement check for an E-7 with 20 years of service will go up by $46 a month, while an O-5 with the same time in uniform will see an $88 monthly increase.
Disabled veterans will also see a bump, with the average VA disability check going up about $3 per month for those with a 10 percent rating, and $58 for those rated at 100 percent.
- Military Retirement & Survivor Pay Dates
- 2018 VA Compensation Rates
- Senate Approves 2.1 Percent Active-Duty Pay Raise
Military retirees and VA beneficiaries aren't the only ones who benefit from the COLA increase. Civil service retirees will also see the 2 percent jump in their monthly checks.
And for Social Security recipients, the monthly increase will mean an extra $25 per month for the average beneficiary.
Biggest COLA Bump in Years
Most government payments see a COLA increase every year. The increase, which is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), makes sure payments keep up with inflation.
Recipients can thank a big jump in the cost of gasoline due to Hurricane Harvey for the jump in the CPI that caused this year's COLA boost.
The COLA affects benefits for more than 70 million U.S. residents, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, federal retirees, and retired military members. That's about one in every five Americans.
Last year, the COLA increase was 0.3 percent; in 2015, retirees saw their checks remain at 2014 levels.
Lower Than the Active-Duty Pay Raise?
Congress is still hashing out the pay raise currently serving troops will receive for 2018.
Both a proposal passed by the Senate and a White House plan mandate a 2.1 percent increase. A measure passed by the House would instead give troops a 2.3 percent increase.
A decision on just what those troops will receive -- and whether what retirees and VA users will receive is lower -- has yet to be made. Lawmakers have recently started closed-door negotiations on the proposals.
Unlike that active-duty pay raise, the bump received by retirees and VA users does not require an act of Congress to go into effect. Those groups will see their pay raise in January regardless of what Congress does for current troops.
-- Jim Absher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.