CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, May 23, 2011, the House is scheduled consider H.R. 1407 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The resolution was introduced by Rep. John Runyan (R-NJ) on April 6, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs. The full Committee considered the bill and held a mark-up session on May 12, 2011, with the bill passing by voice vote.
H.R. 1407 would increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, effective on December 1, 2011. The dollar amounts would be increased by the same percentage (Cost-of-Living Adjustment, or COLA) applied to Social Security benefits on the same effective date.
The bill would also extend by five years VA’s authority to provide adaptive housing grants to veterans residing temporarily in housing owned by a family member. This pilot program is set to expire on December 31, 2011; the bill would extend that authority to December 31, 2016.
Under current law, veterans who are classified by VA as totally disabled and who have certain mobility limitations are entitled to receive housing grants of up to $63,780 to be used to purchase, construct, or modify a home to meet their specific needs. Totally disabled veterans who are blind or have lost the use of their hands are entitled to receive grants of up to $12,756 for those same purposes. Qualifying veterans may use up to $14,000 from the larger grant or $2,000 from the smaller grant to adapt the home of a family member when the veteran resides with that family member temporarily.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill would increase direct spending by less than $500,000 over the 2012-2021 period, relative to CBO’s baseline projections. This estimate assumes that the COLA effective on December 1, 2011, would be 1.1 percent.
Based on recent rates of usage of housing grant benefit, CBO estimates that the bill would increase direct spending by less than $500,000 over the five years of the proposed extension, 2012-2017.
H.R. 1407 would affect direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that the net effects would be insignificant for each year. The bill would not affect revenues.