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VA Compensation Rates


john999

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How about everyone writing their congressmen and pointing out how low our compensation rates are especially for younger vets who become 100% and have no significant SSA or pension benefits from a long term job.  If I was 25 years old even with 100% benefits I would be living in near poverty.  I could not afford to buy a house in my area on $3200?  This is chump change for a young disabled vet.  Old guys like me have SSA and maybe pension benefits plus our VA compensation.  Unless you are getting TDIU or 100% you don't even get $2000 a month maximum for 90%.  I have disability insurance payments plus SSA and pension.  I do OK but if I did not have that extra I would be hurting. How many vets have all that? I am lucky.

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Posted (edited)

Good idea.  Im unaware of a pay raise (except Cola) since at least 2002, or earlier.  

Of course, COLA does not "really" keep up with inflation.  This year is an example, with a 5.9 percent pay increase when cars went up 42%, Meat, poultry and fish is up 12.6%, our health insurance premiums (medicare part B) increased from 148 to 170 per month, an increase of 14%.  Regular gas has increased 58.7% in the past 12 months.  The typical home has increased 13% in the past year

In other words, if we got TWICE as high of raise, we would still be losing on many, if not most of the things we buy.  Pretty much EVERYTHING went up "at least" double what Cola was the past year.  

Our cola is good, as long as we dont eat, dont drive anywhere, dont live in a home, or dont get sick, and need health insurance part B.  

The government tries to "make us feel better" by giving us a Cola, but it all evaporates, and then some, when we try to buy anything.  

 

Edited by broncovet
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Bronco

           To keep up with cost of living we probably should be getting twice as much compensation as we do get.  If your only income is VA comp.  then you are probably living in poverty.  If the only money I had was VA money I could not have bought a house, new car or just about any big ticket item.  Me and you probably get about the same money from VA each month.  When I pay all my bills plus food, gas etc. that money is long gone.  Each year politicians take a bow for giving us a COLA.  I am married.  We could not live on my VA comp.  alone without our SSA and my pension.  This is absurd.  VA is supposed to replace the income I lost when I was able to work.  That has not been true for the last 20 years.  I do hope younger vets will rectify this for themselves in the future.  My race is almost done.  I will cruise on into the sunset but they have to live in this world.

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The SSA does the same thing. VA and SSA pretty much get the same COLA. One problem SSA has is that most of the increase (or a majority of it) is sucked up by higher Medicare costs. Vets are lucky (sort of).

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Purchasing power is eroding. That means that the buying power of $1 in 1980 is equal to 27 cents today.

For that to balance out the pay rates would need to be almost 4 times what it was in 1980. The actual COLA increase amounts to about $3.20 so the decrease of about 72 cents per dollar equivalence is our loss of purchasing power. That is an erosion of 22 cents on the dollar.

The cost of rent and housing has risen faster than COLA as well, and in some area's (Cali, DC, NYC, etc) the increases are staggering. A 100% Vet living in some of those area's could barely survive.

Edited by pwrslm
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On 1/3/2022 at 4:09 PM, john999 said:

How about everyone writing their congressmen and pointing out how low our compensation rates are especially for younger vets who become 100% and have no significant SSA or pension benefits from a long term job. 

SSA's Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is supposed to give at least a minimum income when there are not enough earnings on the SS record, but it falls way way short. Look up what SSA pays for SSI. It's no fun. I could be mistaken, but even an 80% rate of monthly pay would disqualify someone for SSI (since SSI is needs based).

I'm not a younger vet, but I had poor earnings for a long time due to SC conditions. Fortunately, my SS earnings record had me just over SSI's payment and so my monthly SSA payment is for SSDI and because of that I received my SS backpay when SSDI was granted. SSI recipients don't receive backpay. My SSDI payment is not much over the SSI maximum.

Society's answer to income below the federal poverty line is public housing (with long wait lists--3 years in my former area -- not fun), and the answer to transportation is the public bus system. As it is now, and as it has been forever, SSA's SSI amount alone would lower food stamps to less than a hundred a month (different states do different things).  

I had to move to a more affordable area of the country to use my VA home loan on a home of my own, on just my SSDI and my 80% vets rate. I'm single so there is nothing else, and yet I feel very fortunate I made that move WHEN I did (right before prices shot up everywhere). 

Edited by Rivet62
Included SSI disqualification if a vet makes just 80% in vets pay.
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On 1/5/2022 at 6:05 AM, pwrslm said:

Purchasing power is eroding. That means that the buying power of $1 in 1980 is equal to 27 cents today.

For that to balance out the pay rates would need to be almost 4 times what it was in 1980. The actual COLA increase amounts to about $3.20 so the decrease of about 72 cents per dollar equivalence is our loss of purchasing power. That is an erosion of 22 cents on the dollar.

The cost of rent and housing has risen faster than COLA as well, and in some area's (Cali, DC, NYC, etc) the increases are staggering. A 100% Vet living in some of those area's could barely survive.

And in other parts of the country that are attractive. I was in one of those. Housing costs went insane about 3 years before the rest of the nation felt it. Felt like quicksand and I was on my knees with it. As for erosion of spending power, I read a thread on the city data forum where a guy who worked fast food back in the 80s afforded mortgage payments and new car payments and insurance and had kids. Insane to think that's possible now. Even myself, back in the early 90s, I could afford a nice apartment and new car payments and nice clothes on $9 something an hour.

The only thing I can do now is pay off my house as fast as I can and start growing vegetables maybe (SC conditions prevent a lot). I bought a house at a price exactly half what I qualified for, to try to beat the higher prices I knew were coming. People on fixed income don't have a lot of wiggle room.

 

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