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Friday, April 12, 2013

My Response from Senator Casey about us Veterans


Dear Reverend Scott:
 
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding a possible change in the method used to calculate the veterans cost of living adjustment (COLA).  I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
 
On November 27, 2012, President Obama signed H.R. 4114, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012, into law.  This law increased disability compensation rates for veterans by the same cost-of-living adjustment Social Security recipients receive, starting on December 1, 2012, and continuing through November 30, 2013.  
 
The cost of living adjustment is a predetermined increase to social security benefits intended to compensate for the effects of inflation. COLAs have been determined by the Social Security Administration since 1975, and are not decisions in which Congress or the President typically have a role. In general, a COLA is equal to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of one year to the third quarter of the next. The CPI-W is a measure of the change in prices paid by consumers for a variety of goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics determines the CPI-W by examining the change in price of over 200 categories of goods and services.
 
It has been suggested that our national debt could be reduced by changing how COLAs are calculated. Instead of using the CPI-W, an alternative measure known as the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) would be used. Unlike the CPI-W, the C-CPI-U is a "chained" index, which means it assumes that some consumers will substitute between different categories of goods in order to save money. For example, if the price of beef were to rise, but not the price of chicken, the C-CPI-U would take into account some consumers choosing to buy chicken instead of beef. As a result, the C-CPI-U tends to grow more slowly than the CPI-W.
 
I understand that there are serious concerns about the impact decreased COLAs would have on veterans. Please be assured, I will carefully examine any proposal to change how COLAs are calculated, and will keep your thoughts in mind.
 
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
 
For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
 
Sincerely,
Bob Casey
United States Senator
 

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