NewsBytes October 15, 2021     

In this issue:
COLA Announced
Short Term Debt Suspension Passed
Bill Users Must Contact VA Every Month
Happy Birthday Navy

2022 COLA Announced
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently announced that the annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for 2022 will be 5.9 percent. This is the largest increase since 1981. 

The new COLA rate is effective Dec. 1, 2021 and the adjustment will appear in the Dec. 30, 2021 payment. This increase pertains to military retirees, veterans receiving disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security recipients and others. 

By law, COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which is a broad measure of consumer prices generated by the BLS from the third quarter of the previous year to the third quarter of the current year. It measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education. The COLA increase has averaged 1.65 percent for the past 10 years (2011-2020), and in 2009, 2010 and 2015 the increase was zero.

Short Term Debt Suspension Passed
The House recently approved (S.1301) a short-term extension of the U.S. Government debt suspension until Dec. 3, 2021. The measure was earlier approved by the Senate. The suspension was signed into law by President Biden and will add approximately $480 billion to the national debt. The U.S. Treasury had warned that an extension had to be approved by Oct. 18, 2021 to ensure the federal government can continue to pay its bills.

Bill Users Must Contact VA Every Month
The Department of Veterans Affairs implemented a new rule for Post-9/11 GI Bill users to verify their school attendance with the VA each month before receiving any payments. Starting this December, that requirement will be expanded to all Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients. 

Users of all other GI Bill programs, such as the Montgomery GI Bill, have long been required to verify their school attendance each month. If they do not verify their attendance, they will not get their benefits. 

GI Bill users who are attending a technical school, also known as a "non-college degree" or NCD school, must verify their school attendance with the VA each month in order to receive their Monthly Housing Allowance

Happy Birthday Navy!
The U.S. Navy celebrated its (246th) birthday on Wednesday (Oct. 13, 2021) remembering the evolution from humble beginnings to the most powerful and sophisticated sea power in the world. The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, established by the Continental Congress on Oct. 13, 1775, to fight in America’s war for independence. The Continental Navy numbered some 50 ships over the course of the war. The Constitution of the United States ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy."

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