Paycheck Chronicles

Retirees, Disabled Vets Get Biggest Raise in 7 Years for 2019

2019 cash bank

Military retirees, those who receive disability or other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, federal retirees, and social security recipients will see a 2.8 percent pay raise in their monthly checks in 2019.

It is the biggest Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) increase in seven years, equaling as much as $369 a month for those at the top of the retirement pay charts.

Each year military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan Annuities, VA Compensation and Pensions, and Social Security benefits are adjusted for the rate of inflation.

Retirement Pay Increase

Thanks to the increase, the average military retirement check for an E-7 with 20 years of service will go up by $67 a month, while an O-5 with the same time in uniform will see a $126 monthly increase.

Retirees who entered military service on or after Aug. 1, 1986 and opted in for the Career Status Bonus (CSB/Redux retirement plan), have any COLA increases reduced by 1 percent, so they will see a 2019 increase of 1.8 percent or $42 monthly for an E-7 with 20 years of service, or $81 each month for an O-5 with 20 years of service.

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VA Disability Increase

Disabled veterans will also get a bump. The average VA disability check will go up about $4 per month for those with a 10 percent rating, and $83 for those rated at 100 percent.

Other Federal Retirees and Beneficiaries

Military retirees and VA beneficiaries aren't the only ones who benefit from the COLA increase. Civil Service retirees, and Social Security recipients will also see the 2.8 percent jump in their monthly checks as well.

For Social Security recipients, the monthly increase will mean an extra $39 per month for the average beneficiary.

Largest COLA Bump in Years

This annual COLA is determined by 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. 

Last year, the COLA increase was 2.0 percent; in 2017, retirees saw a 0.3 percent increase.

Keep Up With Military Pay Updates

Military pay benefits are changing all the time -- make sure you're up to date with everything you've earned. Join Military.com for free to receive updates on all your military benefits, delivered directly to your inbox.

-- Jim Absher can be reached at jim.absher@monster.com.

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