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Pentagon announces 1.6% cost of living increase for retired vets

The U.S. Strategic Command’s honor guard posts the colors prior to leading Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., members and tenant units in the 2011 Veterans Day parade in Bellevue, Neb., Nov. 5, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Josh Plueger)
November 07, 2019

The Department of Defense on Thursday announced a 1.6 percent increased cost of living adjustments for military retirees and survivor benefits, for the year 2020.

Starting in January 2020, most military retirees will see a 1.6 percent increase in their retirement pay, the Pentagon said in a press statement. Most survivors of military service members who have died on active duty, or inactive duty or participants in the Survivor Benefit Plan, will also see the 1.6 percent increase in their annuities.

Survivors eligible for the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) will also see their SSIA payments reflect the new 1.6 percentage increase. Starting in January, $323 will be the maximum amount of SSIA payale.

The 2020 revisions are lower than the 2019 adjustment of 2.8 percent, which was the largest cost of living adjustment issued since 2012, according to Military Times. The adjustment for 2018 was an even 2 percent.

Veterans advocates have tried to make the veterans’ cost of living adjustments an automatic feature to match the military retiree payouts.

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The 2020 adjustment is still in line with most of the revisions provided over the past decade, according to Military.com.

The average 20-year military retiree, retiring at the rank of E-7, will see an additional $38 a month based on the new adjustments, Military.com reported. An O-5 with the same 20-year retirement would see a $72 monthly retirement increase.

The new cost of living adjustments, which are revised annually, are calculated form the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The adjustment reflects the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the four quarters of the calendar year, ending with the third calendar quarter of 2019 (July, August, and September 2019).

Those military members retiring in 2019 and prior retirees under the REDUX retirement system will also receive a slightly different cost of living adjustment.

Veterans disability payments will also see a $2 increase for those with a 10 percent disability rating. Those veterans with a 100 disability would see a $49 increase in 2020.

The Pentagon has published a full list of the 2020 cost of living adjustments for retired veterans.