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Veterans Law

2022 VA Disability Pay Chart and Compensation Rates: Cost-of-Living Adjustment

July 10, 2021
2022 VA Disability Pay Chart and VA disability compensation rates

The 2022 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will likely be anywhere from 4.5 to 5.3 percent or even higher, according to recent projections.  This may lead to a significant increase in 2022 VA disability rates and monthly compensation for veterans.

It is important to note that the 2022 COLA rate has not yet been determined; this is only an estimate and, as such, is subject to change over the next few months. Continue reading for calculations for the potential 2022 VA disability pay chart.

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

Every fiscal year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sets forth an updated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earnings and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).  The CPI-W measures the change in prices of goods and services over time.

After the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculates the monthly CPI-W, the SSA will pull data from the third quarter (i.e., July, August, and September) of the previous fiscal year to the third quarter of the current year to determine the COLA for the upcoming year.

In the fall, the Senate will pass new legislation to allow a cost-of-living increase for veterans’ benefits.  Then, on December 1, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will adjust veterans’ monthly compensation amounts to reflect the updated cost of living.  Veterans can expect to collect their newly adjusted benefits starting December 31.

Every fiscal year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sets forth an updated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earnings and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).  After the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the monthly CPI-W, the SSA will pull data to determine the COLA for the upcoming year. In the fall, the Senate passes new legislation to allow a cost-of-living increase for veterans’ benefits.

COLA and VA Disability Rates Over Time

2020 COLA

The 2020 1.6 percent COLA increase led to a small jump in veterans’ benefits.  The 2020 VA compensation rates went into effect on December 1, 2019 and veterans received their newly adjusted benefits on December 31 of the same year.

2021 COLA

In 2021, the COLA increase was 1.3 percent, slightly less than the previous year.  This lower rate was due, in part, to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies worldwide.  Veterans still saw a boost in their VA disability benefits starting December 1, 2020.  Veterans will continue to receive 2021 VA benefits until 2022 COLA rates take effect this December.

Projected 2022 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) and VA Compensation

Although too soon to know the exact COLA rate for the upcoming year, predictions from reliable sources can provide veterans with a frame of reference for the potential VA monthly disability benefits they will receive in 2022.

The nonpartisan group The Senior Citizens League projects that the 2022 COLA may be as high as 5.3 percent.  This is significantly greater than the 4.7 percent they estimated just one month prior.

The Kiplinger Letter, a weekly economic and business forecasting periodical, predicted a 4.5 percent COLA increase back in May.

Most recently, BLS calculated a Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) of 5 percent for the year ending in May 2021, with a 3.8 percent jump since January 2021.  The CPI-U is the measure of the change in retail prices affecting all urban consumers, a more general index than the CPI-W.  This offers a small glimpse into how quickly the prices of consumer goods and services have been rising over the past few months.

The SSA will determine the official 2022 COLA after the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the CPI-W for the second quarter (i.e., April, May, and June) of 2021.  Although still subject to change, the 2022 COLA will likely experience its biggest boost since the 5.8 percent adjustment in 2009.

Will Disabled Veterans Get a Raise in 2022?

When VA applies the 2022 COLA to disability benefits, veterans may see a significant increase reflected in their monthly compensation come December, especially when compared to the 2021 adjustment of 1.3 percent.

If the COLA rate does increase by  5.3 percent come fall, veterans with a 100 percent disability rating and no dependents may receive an extra $166.76, yielding a potential $3,313.18 a month.

What Will VA Disability Pay Be in 2022?

The 2021 compensation rates can be used as a baseline to calculate estimates for VA disability payments in 2022.  Take the highest projected 2022 COLA of 5.3 percent, multiply it by the 2021 compensation rate, and then add that number to the rate.  This adjusted figure is your potential 2022 VA monthly payment.

The figures below reflect the changes in compensation rates over the years based on a single veteran with no dependents.  Since the SSA has yet to release the 2022 COLA, the rates listed use the most recent COLA projection of 5.3 percent.  Although the 2022 numbers will likely change, the figures can still serve as an approximation of your 2022 disability payments when compared to previous years.

Combined VA Rating2022 VA Compensation Rates (5.3% increase)2021 VA Compensation Rates2020 VA Compensation Rates
10%$151.78$144.14$142.29
20%$300.03$284.93$281.27
30%$464.74$441.35$435.69
40%$669.47$635.77$627.61
50%$953.01$905.04$893.43
60%$1,207.15$1,146.39$1,131.68
70%$1,521.28$1,444.71$1,426.17
80%$1,768.36$1,679.351,657.80
90%$1,987.20$1,887.18$1,862.96
100%$3,313.18$3,146.42$3,106.04

Additional Compensation for Qualifying Dependents

Veterans with a combined disability rating of 30 percent or higher and one or more qualifying dependents are eligible for additional monthly compensation.  Qualifying dependents include:

  • A spouse
  • Dependent parents
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Children between the age of 18 and 23 who are in school

2022 VA Disability Pay Chart

To determine your possible 2022 rates, please reference the two VA disability pay charts below, ranging from a 4.5 percent to a 5.3 percent increase.

The amounts displayed in each box represent a veteran’s potential monthly compensation based on their combined VA disability rating and dependency status.  Remember, these figures are just predictions and are subject to change in the coming months.

2022 VA Disability Pay Chart With 4.5 Percent COLA increase

If it is confirmed that Veterans will receive a 4.5% VA disability pay increase, the VA disability compensation amounts for 2022 are as follows:

2022 VA Disability Pay Chart Projected at 4.5% cost of living cola icrease

2022 VA Disability Pay Chart With 5.3 Percent COLA increase

If it is confirmed that Veterans will receive a 5.3% VA disability pay increase, the VA disability compensation amounts for 2022 are as follows:

2022 VA Disability Pay Chart 5.3% projected cost of living increase

Do You Need Assistance Appealing Your VA Claim?

The experienced, accredited VA disability attorneys and advocates at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD have decades of demonstrated success representing disabled veterans and their families before VA and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. For a free consultation, contact us at 800-544-9144.