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VA - Would you reevaluate your compensation to include UP TO the new year?


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I have started a petition on change.org to get a law changed that applies to how all of our veteran's benefits are calculated.    I signed up for this website to share this, and believe this is the correct forum for this.   There is no money to be made from this petition by me, and it costs nothing to support it.   The purpose is to try to bring awareness to this issue.   I am hoping you will support and sign this if you agree.   If you do not, please feel free to help me, help us.   

 

The VA’s annual compensation adjustment doesn’t account for the previous OR upcoming year, it is only inflation-correct on the first day of the new year.

It doesn’t account for inflation from the second day of the year up to the last day of the year forward or backward. To be ACCURATE, it should ALSO be retroactively adjusting for inflation back to either the second day, or month of the year. It’s accurate on January 1st. It’s 364 days behind what inflation is on Dec 31st.

The 8.7% inflation increase for 2023 is accurate, but it didn’t happen overnight after close of business on Dec 31st. It happened over the course of the previous year. For an 8.7% increase after a year; then after six months there would have been a (50% of the 8.7% or a) 4.35% increase. After nine months a (75% of 8.75%, or a) 6.525% increase, (8.7% / 12 months = 0.725% inflation rate per month). The annual increase is only accurate during the one day/month the increase happens (January (1st)).

I believe this is a fair request to be reevaluated, because of what this is about. Unlike benefits from any job someone may get where a raise is based on time and experience, government compensation and retirement benefit’s amounts change because of ONLY ONE thing: inflation, / the cost of living. That is the ONLY factor in determining the COLA. If inflation were to somehow never happen for twenty years, then the benefit amounts would also not change for twenty years.  COLA is not a raise; all it does is keep us from falling more than a year behind inflation.   

So when inflation does happen, and if the entire point of those set compensation amounts, is to provide a specific quality of life, based on a specific cost of living; then shouldn’t veterans be allowed to live at that level for the entire year, and not just one day or even one month? The second the cost of living goes up by one penny, we are no longer at the goal for that quality of life.

The FAIR thing to do, and what I am asking for is to retroactively compensate for the actual increase that happened over the year, once the year ends.

The EASY thing to do would be to calculate it as linear, (as a steady increase every month over the year), into a one time “retroactive COLA - ADJUSTMENT” payment that would be paid annually, after the new rate is calculated. 

Think of a right angle triangle.  The bottom line is one year.  The vertical line is the annual COLA.  WHAT ABOUT THE THIRD LINE?   The third line, the diagonal line is the ACTUAL INFLATION.   To calculate this adjustment accurately, you just make a rectangle.  You take one year (12 months) times the COLA adjustment (to get a rectangle), then you divide it by two to get back to the triangle.  12 x cola / 2, OR cola x 6. 

(The inflation rate adjusts more often than this, and this doesn't account for any accrued interest, but the MAIN REASON TO USE THIS METHOD is for the simplicity to calculate and understand for both sides). 

For a veteran with a 100% disability rating, that 8.7% increase MEANS that the ACTUAL COST OF LIVING that we JUST EXPERIENCED would be ($289.88 x 6 = )$1,793.28 MORE than what was projected for January 1st. For the same 50% rating if you multiply it times 11 months, that would be $458.59 to compensate them across the year. The increase from 2021 to 2022 was 5.9%. Which would have been $1,1113.84 for the same 100%.   

You could just as accurately backdate as many years as you wanted, by subtracting the first full year of benefit's received, from the current year's rate, and multiplying by 6. 

By creating an “annual retroactive COLA” payment, you will be accounting for the inflation that ACTUALLY HAPPENED, that you COULD NOT FORSEE and DID NOT ACCOUNT FOR on January 1st.

My analogy is: If over the course of the year, I received a raise, yet when I paid my taxes, I said: I will pay my taxes for the rate I was at on January 1st. I will go ahead and adjust my taxes up to my new raise, starting with next year’s taxes since I wasn’t getting paid that on January 1st.
– You wouldn’t be okay with that if you are receiving the money. Why are you okay with it when it’s your obligation to pay it out?

The current method for calculating veteran’s benefits, will continue to be incomplete, until this is included.

Thank you. 

 

- If you agree, please sign the petition to support it.  Thank you. 

Petition · Veterans Affairs - Would you reevaluate your compensation to include UP TO the new year? · Change.org

Edited by Justin Florek
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  • Moderator

Im in agreement.  However, its my opinion that this will help Vets, but its not enough.  What we need is to require VA to pay interest on our money with back pay.  My reasoning:

1.  THERE is a financial incentive for VA to delay your claim as long as possible, there is no downside to va for delay.  

    a.  Many Vets die before claims are settled, and often the family does not know how to continue to get his benefits, so they are lost to the family because of va's delays.  This is real.  Families need to know they have to file a form, with a deceased family member.  That form is here: https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21P-0847-ARE.pdf. Notice the one year time limit to file a substitution of claimant.  

    b.  Other Vets become too weak or sick to continue their claim, it takes a lot to continue these when you dont feel well.  Even if you have already applied, there are appeals, c and p exams, request for information, and if you skip these, you often lose out.  Oh, and try getting the dav van driver to pick you up under the broadway bridge to take you to your mandantory c and p exam.  Good luck with that.  

    c.  And, even when the Veteran "wins" his claim and backpay, he is paid in the amount of yesteryear, which has inflated when he gets a chance to spend it.  This saves VA millions but costs Veterans.  If you pay your IRS late, you have tax penalties and interest, but if va pays you late, you get no penalties, and no interest..you are lucky if you get your principal.   

2.  If, the VA had to pay interest and penalities, like we do, there would be a mad rush for va to finish the claims promptly, just like the rush at April 15.  

3.  There are Veterans who become homeless waiting for va benefits.  I know.  Im one of them!  It took the VA 4 years to compensate me $412 per month, which was not enough to keep my home.  It was too little too late.  

      When Vets do become homeless, its extra tough to receive benefits.  Bank account?  They probably dont have one.  Can a homeless Vet get a bank account?  Maybe. He could collect cans and try to raise the $5.00 minimum to open an account.    Mailing address?  "how about shopping cart 3 under broadway bridge".  Oh, and phone number.  Yea, their shopping carts are equipped with wireless phone chargers, for phones they cant afford. All the homeless Vet needs to do to get cell service is to plug in his charger with a 4000 foot extenion cord, which he can not afford, and then try to find a homeowner who will let him plug it in. 

     Remember, if va sends you mail to "your last known address", its assumed you received it.  Ask the mailman to drop off your mail at your shopping cart under the broadway bridge and see what he says.   

     So, va helps you out.  If you do not respond to their letter, requesting information, then the VA presumes you have abandonded your claim and they deny it, so that you can spend a few more years under the bridge, that is, if you dont freeze to death first.  

Edited by broncovet
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  • Content Curator/HadIt.com Elder

Welcome to Hadit!

Current veteran disability compensation has NOT inflation-correct for decades. Vets are being underpaid by roughly 24%. Per Bureau of Labor Statistics, the  median (middle) weekly pay for a full-time US worker is $1,100. This works out at $57,200 per year based upon 52 weeks. However, the pay rate for a 100% veteran without dependents if $3,621.95/month which is $43,463.40/year. This means veterans are being undercut by about $13,000/year (about 24%).

Here's a link to the BLS site which was posted on July 18, 2023:
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf

On top of that, for years the military recruitment campaigns have repeatedly touted the benefits of military service like getting valuable experience and training to get a let up on the competition. Of course, that is relative to the kind of employment a vet may seek, one might think that a vet would be entitled to 24% more compensation instead of 24% less...

 

@broncovet is spot on about interest on back pay. The VA can make mistakes and finally pay retro without back interest once the errors are corrected. However, if you are late paying taxes, the government will sting you with interest and other penalties.


 

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  • Greeter

I agree with vyn and bronco that we have other pressing concerns than cola. We need the interest on our Va back pay that way the Va would have more need to properly review cases and settle the veterans claim. That sure would put the VARO to work harder. As to the other Va pay is grossly underpaid compared to the national numbers. I see this post every now and then when I look up veterans news. It’s a post that address the wages of veterans and the civilian average worker. Where I stand I believe we are underpaid 1000-1500 dollars short from what the average person makes. Granted I’m happy that I receive disability but we are still not comped at the rates we would be if we were working a job. Remember the va is comping us as if we are working not a payoff. Congress has failed to do this for awhile now and I don’t see the doing it unless we have a lot of people speaking.

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  • Community Owner

broncovet statement about homelessness is an understatement. I actually went through some of this with hadit.com. It is impossible to get a bank account without proving your address ie a piece of mail like a bill with your name (or the company's name) on it going to the address you are at. (No PO Boxes) so the catch 22 is if you can't get a bank account you can't have your check deposed or cash one at a bank.

This is my humble opinion that the above will not fly because you will have to get congress to change how they calculator the the COLA. This will never happen because they do this at the end of September and the new year starts October They will have to change all of it to do the increase like above. This will not happen. You can't even get them to agree on a budget let alone change this.

There are a lot of other stuff you can start a campaign on. Like hiring workers comp doc's to do C & P exams to deny claims. Or to require the VA to complete claims in 120 days or you automatically win. (Fat chance on that.)

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  • Greeter

I agree with rattle. This would be near impossible at the moment as I believe there I more important matter now. I appreciate your desire to change things but I don’t think you will change something that has been going on since the 80s when they changed how cola was determined.

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