Delivers Improved Care to Women Veterans
Jan 06 2021
WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law legislation that expands veterans benefits and includes provisions authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to enhance education, pensions, burials, compensation and landmark enhancements to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) care and services for women veterans.
“I applaud President Trump for signing this bill into law so we can provide more resources for veterans and expand benefits they earned,”said Boozman, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This law includes the historic Deborah Sampson Act that will enable us to better serve the needs of women veterans. We’ve worked in a bipartisan manner to get this across the finish line so we can fulfill our promise to all who have worn our nation’s uniform.”
The Deborah Sampson Act, legislation introduced by Boozman and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), eliminates barriers to care and services many women veterans face and helps ensure the VA can address the needs of women veterans who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment and lack of access to needed health care.
Additional Boozman-authored and championed provisions in the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvements Act of 2020 signed into law include:
- Expanding wartime benefits to veterans who served in the Vietnam War and have been ineligible for assistance because of differences between the war era dates at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA. Currently, DoD recognizes the Vietnam War era as November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, while the VA recognizes the Vietnam War era as February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. This discrepancy has prevented members of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group from qualifying for wartime veterans benefits like the veterans pension.
- Increasing the number of health care providers who are allowed to conduct the required medical exam for veterans applying for benefits in order to help reduce the existing backlog.
- Improving access to specialized training that would ensure VA grant-funded cemeteries meet and maintain the National Cemetery Administration’s (NCA) National Shrine Commitment.
- Updating the VA’s funeral benefits to treat all non-service connected deaths equally, regardless of where the veteran passes away.
- Closing a loophole that prevents the VA from putting the names of veterans’ family members on headstones in private cemeteries. Currently, the VA is only authorized to put veterans’ family members’ names on headstones in national, state and tribal veterans’ cemeteries.
- Modernizing the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to permit servicemembers to deliver notice of termination of residential and car leases electronically, including by email.
- Expanding the list of work-study activities that qualify for payment of work-study allowances under the VA’s rehabilitation, training and education programs.