Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) director of government affairs, Derek Fronabarger, testified before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee recently on the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) benefit.
Fronabarger highlighted areas where Congress can take action, specifically around the existing financial and time frame limitations of the benefit.
“As younger veterans grow, get married, or have families, their needs in an adaptive home change dramatically,” Fronabarger shared during the meeting, according to a media release from WWP.
“This is also true for those whose disabilities get worse over time. A veteran with a prosthetic leg might be fine to walk around their home when they are in their 30s, but they might require a motorized wheelchair when they become senior citizens. We recommend the full Specially Adapted Housing benefit be reinstated to those in the program every 10 years to accommodate moving and normal life changes.”
During the hearing, a new draft bill was announced and discussed that is named in honor of Army Capt (Ret) Ryan Kules, WWP director of combat stress recovery.
“The Ryan Kules Specially Adapted Housing Improvement Act of 2019 will improve the quality of life for many wounded warriors and their families by helping ensure their homes fit their abilities,” states WWP CEO Lt Gen (Ret) Mike Linnington, in the release.
“We are grateful to Rep Gus Bilirakis for sponsoring this bill and to Rep Mike Levin for co-sponsoring, and we thank them both for their leadership and great fidelity to our nation’s wounded warriors.”
“Wounded warriors face unique challenges in recovering from their injuries,” Kules shares. “The Specially Adapted Housing benefit has helped me tremendously, and renewing this benefit every 10 years will help ensure wounded veterans’ homes can be adapted as our needs change throughout our lives.”
WWP’s Independence Program and Benefits Service assist veterans and service members in need of home modifications for daily living if they do not qualify for SAH grants, which provide allowances to service members and veterans with certain permanent and total service-connected disabilities.
Eligible SAH grantees include those who have lost the use of both arms or both legs, or one leg and one arm; those who are blind in both eyes; and those who have certain severe respiratory injuries, or certain severe burns. The total amount of funds that an individual can use is currently $85,645.
A veteran or service member can access these funds up to three times and cannot exceed the capped amount. This new bill will allow veterans to use this benefit every 10 years, and increase the cap to over $98,000 and the usage from three times to six times. The passage of this bill is a major legislative priority for WWP during the 116th Congress, the release explains.
[Source(s): Wounded Warrior Project, PR Newswire]
[Photo credit: PRNewsfoto/Wounded Warrior Project]