July 25, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to expand senior veterans’ access to assisted living services. The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act would create a pilot program for eligible veterans to receive assisted living care paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – helping the servicemembers who defended the nation live their senior years more independently. Currently, the VA is restricted from paying room and board fees at assisted living facilities.
“The service of Maine veterans is engrained in the fabric of our state, and so is the understanding that we are indebted to these men and women for all they’ve sacrificed,” said Senator King. “As these servicemembers who defended our nation age, they deserve our continued support to enjoy their senior years. The bipartisan Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act creates a pilot program that is designed to empower our older veterans – especially those in rural areas – so they can age with dignity and autonomy with their VA benefits. This is an important bipartisan effort that builds on America’s commitment to our servicemembers, and I hope that it can find broad support across Congress. These veterans fought for our nation’s independence, the least we can do is support theirs.”
“With the number of veterans eligible for long-term care expected to increase more than fivefold over the next two decades, the VA needs to be prepared to care for these veterans and ensure they can live their lives as independently as possible,” said Disabled American Veterans National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “One way to accomplish this is by providing those veterans whose conditions do not rise to the level of requiring nursing home care with other long-term care options. The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act would create a pilot program for veterans to receive assisted living care paid for by VA and would allow more veterans to continue living with respect and dignity.”
The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act would create a pilot program for eligible veterans at six Veterans Integrated Services Networks (VISNs) nationwide, including at least two program sites located in rural or highly rural areas, and at least two sites must be State Veterans Homes. Senior veterans would receive the appropriate assisted living care they need to be independent paid for by the VA, and, if successful, this pilot could set a model for the VA to expand that service to all qualifying veterans in the future. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King has been a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. Over the last year, he’s worked to honor and preserve veterans’ stories with his “Answering the Call” interview series in partnership with the Library of Congress, and with the Honoring Purple Heart Recipients Act of 2022 that would honor and recognize the sacrifices of Purple Heart medal recipients. King also recently celebrated the Senate’s passage of the PACT Act, which would provide veterans exposed to toxic hazards their earned healthcare and benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).