Pay increase coming for America's veterans - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Pay increase coming for America's veterans

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Lee Ewing Lee Ewing
Maria Price Maria Price

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The ringing in of the New Year will bring in more cash for veterans across the country.

"To some people, it's a lifeline," said Lee Ewing, state commander for Disabled American Veterans.

Veterans and their families who are on disability or receive pensions will get more money every month - an increase of 1.5 percent starting January 1.

"No matter what walk of life you come from, a raise is always a good thing," Ewing said.

For those without dependants the increase translates into $130 a month up to almost $3,000 depending on the percentage of disability. That money can go a long way. At St. John Center, about 25 percent of the homeless men they help are veterans.

"Anyone in that situation today will know that let's say the difference of $100 will open up more housing opportunities for them and hopefully get them off the street," said Maria Price, executive director of St. John Center.

The cost of living, or COLA, increase for veterans has to match that of social security according to federal law. Last year, the pay raise was 1.7 percent. Before that, the increase was frozen.

"Food goes up every day, gas goes up every day and all those things are factored in by the government as what it costs to live," Ewing said.

More than 340,000 veterans live in Kentucky. While the pay raise won't kick in until their disability or pension payments do, it's still considered by some as a move in the right direction.

For a breakdown of benefit rates, click here.

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