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March 9, 2023

Bill Introduced to Add Assisted Living Services to Veteran Benefits

A bill introduced by US Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jon Tester (D-MT), along with Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) to add assisted living services to veterans benefits.

The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long-Term Care Act would create a small pilot program to offer eligible veterans who participate the option to have their care needs met in an assisted living community rather than at a Department of Veterans Affairs state home.

Currently, VA is not allowed to pay for room and board fees for veterans living at assisted living facilities—preventing many veterans from utilizing this long-term care option. This pilot program will save taxpayer dollars by allowing eligible veterans to access the appropriate level of care for their needs at assisted living facilities, instead of having to seek more costly care at nursing homes.

A press release about the bill includes a quote from our national partners LeadingAge and Argentum, along with other aging services associations: “The leading organizations that represent the assisted living profession applaud the leadership of Sen Tester, Moran, Murray, and Rounds for introducing this legislation. This pilot program makes sense for a number of reasons: it offers a new option in long-term care for veterans, creates significant savings for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and will demonstrate the numerous benefits of assisted living. The VA’s daunting cost estimates for long-term care, both current and in the future, illustrate the need for policies that mitigate the significant financial burden. We are encouraged by this legislation to jump-start these efforts.”

The Senators’ bill received strong backing from various Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and stakeholders nationwide. 

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