Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 27, 2012

Veterans to get COLA increase


CROSSVILLE — Cumberland County Veterans Service Officer Bill Ward reported effective Dec. 1, veterans and survivors will get a 1.7 percent increase cost of living adjustment (COLA). This will appear in their Jan. 1, 2013 paychecks.

This will affect approximately 4 million veterans, military and their survivors. Ward said according to the Veterans Administration (VA), “The average increase income for the year is $500. Dollar amounts will vary on an individual basis depending on disability rating.”

On another VA note, it seems some veterans don’t know about the Travel Pay Program. The program is to help veterans with the cost of travel for VA medical appointments. The VA is changing Beneficiary Travel Reimbursement from cash to direct deposit to your bank account using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

Cash Travel Reimbursements will be phased out by the end of March 2013. Vets who already have direct deposit for EFT will still need to complete the one-time direct deposit paperwork again for travel claims.

Veterans qualify for travel pay if: they have a Service-Connected (SC) rating of 30  percent or more, or are traveling for treatment for a SC condition, or receive a VA pension, or their income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate, or are traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension examination.

Be sure to ask about travel pay when you next visit the VA doctor.

To enroll for electronic funds transfers, ask about it at the travel pay window or during your next clinic visit.

After turning in your travel voucher at medical facility, deposits are made directly into your bank account usually within 3-5 business days.

For additional information, or to find out what VA benefits you may be eligible for, come by the Cumberland County Veterans Service Office or call 456-0090 and talk to Bill or Wendy.