Chairman Takano Continues To Advocate For Veterans in COVID-19 Congressional Response
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
Miguel R. Salazar
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) issued the following statement regarding the Committee’s ongoing efforts to protect veterans from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure VA can continue to carry out their first mission -- serving our nation’s veterans -- as we confront a national emergency.
“In order to address the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve worked ardently to advocate for our veterans,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “It is crucial that veterans have the peace of mind that their benefits will be protected and that VA staff will be cared for in the event that they get sick while serving our nation’s heroes.”
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs continues to protect our nation’s veterans from the impacts of COVID-19 while working to include key provisions to serve veterans in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act:
- Secured Critical Funding for Veterans: The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is working to ensure supplemental funding resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs are included in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, to ensure they can treat veterans who are hospitalized due to COVID-19, and if called upon, treat non-veteran patients in communities whose hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
- Protecting Benefits for Student Veterans: As schools rightly take proactive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to make sure student veterans’ benefits are protected. Today, Chairman Takano introduced the bipartisan Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, and the Committee has worked to include key language in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act to ensure no students have their housing cut off, lose their work study payment, exhaust their disaster housing stipend continuation payments, or lose their benefits due to a school closure from COVID-19.
- Caring For Our Most Vulnerable: In-home care is critical to serving some of our most vulnerable veteran populations and ensures those who need assistance with daily activities or those who are housebound are not forgotten. The Committee has worked to include language in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act to increase the amount VA can pay for Aid and Attendance by twenty-five percent during the current emergency period due to COVID-19.
- Debt Collection Relief: The economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has impacted millions of veterans across the country who may be stretching incomes, struggling to cover the cost for housing, or even pay their utilities. The Committee has worked to include provisions in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act that would temporarily suspend VA’s debt collection activities during the public health emergency caused by COVID-19, and for 60 days following the end of the emergency period.
- Workers Compensation for VA employees: Across our country, we have witnessed the heroic actions of doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, and VA staff who have continued to place themselves in harm's way to serve our veteran population. These employees deserve the security and peace of mind to know that should they fall ill and contract COVID-19, they will be covered when filing a workers compensation claim. The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is committed to making these protections a reality.
Background: Since this crisis began, the Committee has continued its oversight of VA’s response to COVID-19 and the Fourth Mission, worked to mitigate the impact on student veterans, and been in constant contact with VA to ensure they can continue to provide high quality care for veterans.
For more information about the Committee’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis and resources for available for veterans, please visit: https://veterans.house.gov/covid-19.
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