Bill reverses flawed policy that limits housing benefits for low-income, disabled vets; issue first brought to Heck’s attention during local vets meeting
WASHINGTON – February 3, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Legislation introduced by Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) called the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act (H.R. 1816) passed the House as part of H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.
Rep. Heck’s bill, which passed as a stand-alone bill in May of 2015, ends the flawed Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policy of counting the aid and attendance benefit for low-income, disabled veterans as regular income.
By counting the aid and attendance benefit intended for medical care as income, HUD is unfairly reducing the housing assistance available to our low-income disabled veterans. This issue was first brought to Congressman Heck’s attention during a 2011 meeting of his Veterans Advisory Panel. The panel brings local veterans together to discuss the issues facing southern Nevada’s veteran community.
“It’s been nine months since the House last passed this bill and HUD’s flawed aid and attendance policy still threatens our most vulnerable veterans with homelessness,” Rep. Heck said. “The last thing our veterans should have to worry about is whether they will have a roof over their head. While I commend the outstanding work of the City of Las Vegas and Clark County in meeting the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, there is still much work to be done around the country in solving the problem of veterans homelessness.”
The Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act has now passed the House on 3 different occasions.
In June of 2015, following a visit to Las Vegas by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro, Rep. Heck wrote a letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal again pointing out that a HUD policy “actually puts our most vulnerable veterans at greater risk of becoming homeless.”
Read Congressman Heck’s full letter by clicking here.
In order to receive aid and attendance benefits, severely disabled veterans must first establish their eligibility for a low-income pension which requires an adjusted gross annual income of less than $12,256 for a single veteran with no dependents. Once eligibility is determined, that same veteran can receive $8,191 in aid and attendance benefits annually to offset the cost of a personal care attendant and keep the veteran in his/her home.
The Congressional Research Service estimates that the median annual cost for a licensed home health aide is $18,179. The cost of an assisted living facility is $39,600, and the median cost of a room in a nursing home is between $73,000 and $81,000 annually.
Congressman Joe Heck represents Nevada’s Third Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.