Congress approves inflation increase for veterans

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of veterans and their dependents will get a fresh cost-of-living increase for their disability benefits beginning in December, according to legislation that Congress sent President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

The bill does not set the boost that veterans will receive but requires that it equal next year's inflation increase for Social Security recipients. The government will calculate next year's Social Security increase in October.

The boosts will cover disability compensation, clothing allowances for some disabled veterans and compensation for some surviving spouses and children, such as "dependency and indemnity" payments. Overall, more than 4 million people receive disability payments, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Unlike many other federal benefits, inflation adjustments in veterans' benefits don't happen automatically and require annual congressional action.

The House approved the legislation requiring the increase by voice vote. The Senate passed the measure by voice vote last week.

This year's increase was 1.5 percent.

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