The Senate and House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 5985, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016, a bill that if enacted would extend a number of crucial statutory authorities some of which expire as early as September 30, 2016, and govern VA health and benefits programs.
These authorities support the delivery of family caregiver services for service-disabled veterans, provide important programs for women veterans, underwrite VA’s homeless assistance efforts, extend several VA benefits programs and continue a number of other programs that are important to DAV and its supporters.
The bill has been sent to the president for his signature, and DAV urges execution of the legislation as soon as possible, as some of the authorities could expire before the new fiscal year begins on October 1st.
“The services provided based on these expiring authorities are absolutely essential to veterans,” said DAV National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “For example, without reauthorization VA would no longer be able to provide nursing home care to service-connected veterans, or provide specified treatment, rehabilitation and other services to homeless veterans and veterans with serious mental illness.”
Other expiring authorities at risk include use of the Manila VA Regional Office, vocational rehabilitation benefits for servicemembers who have not yet received a rating decision, and budget authorities for monthly assistance allowance for veterans competing in large-scale adaptive sports.