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2018 Cost of Living Adjustment for Veterans Benefits

The 2018 COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustments) increase is 2.0% according to the U.S. government.


COLA is based on the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the third quarter of this year. The 2.0 percent increase in the cost-of-living adjustment is about a $25 monthly benefit increase for the average retiree, or about $300 per year.


COLA impacts benefits to about 61 million social security recipients, 1.96 million military retirees and 4 million disabled veterans and 8 million SSI beneficiaries.


2018 Cola Effective & Payment Dates:


Retired military veterans, VA rates for compensation and pension for disabled veterans and surviving families will be effective December 1, 2017 and will be reflected on the first check to be paid on December 31, 2017.


Social Security benefits will be effective beginning with December 2017 benefits, which are payable in January 2018.


Federal SSI payment levels will begin on December 29, 2017.


COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustments) are for the following individuals or areas:


Retired Military Veteran

Disabled Veterans  (see 2018 rate table here)

Veterans’ Pension Benefits 

Survivor Benefit Annuitants 

Surviving Families of Veterans

Social Security recipients

Federal Civilian Retirees

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Eligibility for Medicare Extra Help and Medicaid

Federal & State food and housing assistance programs


How COLA is Determined

The Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (aka Cost-of-Living Allowance) is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI-W).  It is based on the percentage increase of the CPI-W from the 3rd quarter of the previous year versus the current year’s 3rd quarter (July, August, and September).


Veterans who retire during the current calendar year will receive a temporary partial COLA due to already receiving a military pay raise in January.