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2023 VA Disability Increase: New Updates For Military Retirees

Last updated: December 28, 2023

Current economic conditions have caused many veterans to worry about the future of their VA benefits. The cost of living has increased due to inflation, and veterans are concerned about what VA benefits might look like in 2023.

Based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), which had been unchanged in July, grew 0.1 percent in August. Before seasonal adjustment, the all-items index increased by 8.3% over the past 12 months.

2023 VA Disability Increase

VA Disability Compensation Increase

VA disability compensation checks for millions of veterans will increase by 8.7% in January with the increase in the 2023 VA disability increase. Despite the substantial adjustment of 5.9 percent that took place in 2022, the adjustment in 2023 will be even more significant.

This is the highest increase in disability pay by the VA in 30 years. Due to President Biden's signing of the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2022 on October 10, 2022, the VA benefits cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is the same as that of Social Security. A higher-than-usual increase is being attributed to rising inflation for the second consecutive year. 

A 2023 VA disability rate will be determined by the cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase for 2023 by the Social Security Administration (SSA). By law, disability and retirement payments made by the government must increase every year.

Veterans' benefits should begin to be paid on December 1, 2023, after the VA has adjusted disability rates accordingly. As a result of these changes, veterans will receive their monthly payments on December 29, 2023. Consumer goods prices, inflation, and rising gas prices all contributed to the 2023 VA disability increase.

A veteran with a 100 percent disability rating and no dependents will also receive an additional $289.89 per month along with their disability compensation, bringing their monthly compensation to $3,621.95 per month with the 8.7% COLA increase.

For 100 percent disabled veterans, last year's rate in 2022 was $3,332.06. Veterans will receive their monthly VA disability compensation payments according to the VA's 2023 disability payment schedule. 

What Is the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)?

A cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is calculated by Social Security each year by considering the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The CPI-W measures price changes over time.

The SSA will calculate the COLA for the next fiscal year after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculates the monthly CPI-W. For the current year, the COLA will be calculated using data from the previous fiscal year's third quarter (i.e., July, August, and September).

The Senate will pass a new bill to increase veterans' benefits' cost-of-living following this. In this case, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will adjust veterans' monthly compensation. As a result, veterans' benefits are typically increased every year.

2020 COLA

Benefits for veterans increased by 1.6 percent due to the 2020 COLA increase. Veterans began receiving their newly adjusted benefits on December 31, 2019, after the 2020 VA compensation rates were implemented.

2021 COLA

A 1.3 percent COLA increase was reported in 2021, a slight decrease from last year. The COVID-19 pandemic's impact on economies worldwide contributed to the lower rate. December 1, 2020, marked the start of a new year for veterans in terms of VA disability benefits.

2022 COLA

Starting on December 1, 2021, benefits were boosted by 5.9 percent due to the 2022 COLA increase.

2023 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

As a result of the CPI-W release for the second quarter (April, May, and June) of 2022, the Social Security Administration calculated the official COLA of 8.7% for 2023. The COLA will increase by its most considerable amount since 1981 at the start of the new year.

The VA monthly disability benefits veterans may receive in 2023 were predicted by reliable sources before this announcement. In 2023, CoLA could reach as high as 9.6 percent, according to the nonpartisan group The Senior Citizens League.

What is Monthly VA Disability Compensation?

In the VA, veterans receiving disability compensation can take advantage of tax-free monetary benefits associated with service-connected disabilities or medical conditions. Veterans must establish service connections to be eligible for disability compensation. Service connection usually consists of three components:

  • The diagnosis of a medical professional of a current condition;
  • Injuries, illnesses, or events that occur in the course of service
  • In-service events are linked to the current condition through a medical nexus.

The veteran's condition will also be assessed by VA when a service connection is granted. Veterans will receive a rating based on the amount of compensation they receive each month. There are ten increments of ten percent in VA disability ratings, with more severe conditions receiving a higher rating. There are some critical details to keep in mind regarding 0 percent ratings. A 0 percent rating will not qualify the veteran for disability pay; however, he or she can still be eligible for other VA benefits, such as health care.

Using VA Math to Determine Your Compensation Rate

Their disability rating usually determines a veteran's VA compensation rate. Their combined disability rating determines a veteran's monthly compensation rate if he or she has multiple service-connected conditions.

When VA math is used to calculate combined disability ratings, each individual disability rating from each service-connected condition is added together. A VA disability calculator can help veterans calculate their combined ratings more easily since VA math can be confusing and challenging.

Additional Compensation Benefits for Service-Connected Veterans

Additional compensation may also be available to veterans and their dependents with a combined rating of 30 percent or higher. The following dependents qualify:

  • The spouse of a veteran
  • Parents of veterans who are dependent on their children
  • Young children under 18 years of age
  • Those 18 to 23 years old who are students

VA Disability Compensation Rates for 2023

Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are determined each year by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which adjusts VA disability compensation rates based on them.

There will be an 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment in 2023. The VA disability rates and monthly veteran compensation will increase significantly in 2023. Over the last three decades, there has been no increase as large as this. We have updated the compensation rates as follows:

Combined VA Rating2023 VA Compensation Rates (8.7% increase)2022 VA Compensation Rates2021 VA Compensation Rates
10%$165.92 $152.64$144.14
20%$327.99  $301.74$284.93

VA Disability Payment Schedule For 2023

The first business day of the following month usually marks the payment date for disability benefits. Holidays and weekends will be converted to business days, so benefits will be paid on the last business day of the preceding month if the first business day falls on a holiday or weekend.

The payment schedule for 2023 is as follows:

MonthPayment DateDay of Week
January 2023February 1stWednesday
February 2023March 1stWednesday
March 2023March 31stFriday
April 2023May 1stMonday
May 2023June 1stThursday
June 2023June 30thFriday
July 2023August 1stTuesday
August 2023September 1stFriday
September 2023September 31stFriday
October 2023September 29thWednesday
November 2023November 1stFriday
December 2023December 29thFriday

Applying for cash benefits from Social Security can seem overwhelming for some people. Check out our guide on how to qualify for workers' compensation benefits. To help you prepare for VA disability claims, make sure you do your research as well. Visit the Disability Help blog for more information.

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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