Salute to Spouses Blog

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Retirement pay and VA disability compensation to increase in 2019

There was a lot of new information to digest when my husband retired in 2013. A lot of paperwork, a lot of decisions to make and a lot of well, a lot.

A point I missed, and maybe you did too, is that military retiree pay fluctuates with cost of living allowances. So far, that amount has been too miniscule to really notice.

In January, military retirees will receive the largest COLA increase in seven years, a full 2.8 percent pay raise. For those military members at the tippy top of the retirement pay charts that increase could be as much as $369  a month.

For those of us closer to the bottom, the amount isn’t shabby either. For example, according to, retirement pay for an E-7 with 20 years of service will increase by $133 a month. An O-5 with 20 years will receive a $252 increase per month.

According to, retirees who entered military service on or after Aug. 1, 1986 and opted in for the Career Status Bonus (CSB/Redux retirement plan), have any COLA increases reduced by 1 percent, so they will see a 2019 increase of 1.8 percent or $84 monthly for an E-7 with 20 years of service, or $162 each month for an O-5 with 20 years of service.

Service members receiving VA disability pay will also receive increased checks in the new year. The average VA disability check will go up about $4 per month for those with a 10 percent rating, and $83 for those rated at 100 percent.

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