Crowley Cheers Increase in Veterans Benefits, Homeless Veterans Services

March 30, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) cheered today’s passage of legislation to expand veterans’ services, continuing the commitment by the Democratic Congress to improve veterans care in the United States. The three bills were passed unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives and will enhance services for millions of veterans across the US, including thousands across the Bronx and Queens. Once signed into law, veterans will benefit from increased outreach for homeless veterans, expanded reimbursement of emergency medical care and boosts in disability benefits for wounded veterans and their beneficiaries.

“The Democratic-led Congress is continuing our commitment to our nation’s veterans by investing and expanding the benefits they earn while serving our country,” said Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “I am proud to support these critical bills to expand veterans’ services in honor of the men and women of the armed forces and their families across the Bronx and Queens who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Watching over how the Federal government cares for our veterans is truly one of the most rewarding responsibilities I have as a member of Congress.  I am committed to making sure we honor their service not only with words, but with deeds; this package of bills does exactly that by helping millions of veterans across the nation access medical care and modernize their benefits.”

The House of Representatives passed three bills today unanimously; the bills now move to the Senate for consideration. Additional information on the three bills:

·    H.R. 1171 – Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization Act of 2009
Reauthorizes, through FY2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) homeless veterans reintegration programs (job training, counseling, and placement services to expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force). Directs the Secretary of Labor to make grants to programs and facilities that provide dedicated services for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children. This program should help local veterans homes, like New Era Veterans in the Bronx, or the Borden Avenue shelter in Queens.

·    H.R. 1377 – To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility
Expands ability of the Department of Veterans Affairs to reimburse a veteran for the cost of emergency care provided in a non-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility. The VA will now be able to act as a secondary payer for veterans, paying the difference between the amount paid by the third party insurer and the VA allowable amount. Veterans would not be liable for any remaining balance due to the provider after the third party insurer and the VA have made their payments. Veterans would continue to be responsible for co-payments owed to a third party insurer.

·    H.R. 1513 – Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009
Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase, as of December 1, 2009, the rates of veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled adult children, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children to provide local veterans a cost of living allowance on their compensation for service to our county.