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Senate passes bill to increase veterans' benefits

The United States Senate finally passed a bill this week that has been stalled since September, which provides an increase in veterans benefits to compensate for a cost-of-living adjustment. The increase will take affect for January benefits payments and is likely to affect more than 3.9 million veterans and survivors.

Veterans and their families in Texas know that disability benefits are crucial for the brave men and women who have been injured during their service. "Particularly in this difficult economy, our veterans deserve a boost in their benefits to help make ends meet," said one of the senators involved in the bill's passage.

The increase will be 1.7 percent, amounting to about $500 more each year for veterans and their families, according to one of the bill's sponsors.

The adjustment is intended to compensate for inflation and the bill was seen as completely uncontroversial until an anonymous senator put the legislation on hold last session. Without quick action by the Senate, the Department of Veterans Affairs says that they wouldn't have been able to accomplish the change by January 1, 2013.

There are a wide range of benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs for service members who have been injured on the job. Texas veterans who have a disability might be eligible for a variety of benefits through Veterans Affairs and through the state or federal government, depending on the specifics of their case. It's important to know all of one's options and to plan prudently to make sure available benefits are maximized.

Source: Washington Post, "Senate passes COLA bill for veterans at deadline," Steve Vogel, Nov. 14, 2012.

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