House committee adopts Elaine Luria amendment to help blind veterans

Elaine LuriaThis week, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs unanimously adopted an amendment introduced by Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) to ensure that blind veterans get the housing adaptations they need to live independently at home and with their families.

“Blind veterans sacrificed for America,” Congresswoman Luria said. “They deserve equal access to important opportunities for growth and independence, and I am honored to champion their cause. It’s great news that the Committee unanimously moved our amendment forward.”

Congresswoman Luria’s amendment – which seeks to strengthen the VA-administered Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program – was adopted into a bill that the full Committee recommended for a House floor vote. The SAH grant program funds renovations such as installing ramps, handrails, grab bars, and sliding doors.

Currently, only veterans who meet one or more of seven narrow categories of disability are eligible for SAH grants. In the statute establishing this program, blind veterans are only eligible for grants if they also have lost the use of one or both legs. This means that VA must turn away blind veterans in need of housing assistance for the sole reason that they have use of both their legs.

Congresswoman Luria’s amendment would correct this by changing the criteria for SAH grant eligibility to ensure that blind veterans get the housing adaptations they need. Video of Congresswoman Luria speaking about the amendment can be seen here.

Congresswoman Luria’s amendment incorporates the provisions of the Housing Access for Blind Veterans Act, a bipartisan bill she recently introduced with Committee Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe (TN-01).

This legislative effort follows Congresswoman Luria’s VA Website Accessibility Act, which the Committee recommended for a floor vote in May. She introduced that bill and has met with blind veterans in order to ensure that all VA online resources are accessible to every veteran.

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