news several pieces of legislation pass to improve lives of veterans and their families
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Several pieces of legislation pass to improve lives of veterans, families

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Last Friday, U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia voted in support of several pieces of legislation to improve quality of life for United States military families and veterans.

Luria, a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran, serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is vice chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

“As a 20-year Navy veteran, I know firsthand how difficult the transition from active-duty service to civilian can be for some,” Luria said in a press release. “I was proud to advance these pieces of legislation that will ensure our veterans do not go hungry, expand benefits for disabled veterans, and support the families of fallen servicemembers. It is our duty as a nation to take care of those who fought for us and their families, and improving the quality of life for our veterans is the least that we can do to show our gratitude. I remain committed to supporting our veterans and military families in Coastal Virginia and across the country.”

For the fourth straight year, Luria’s bipartisan Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2022 passed the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Two of Luria’s bills, The COVENANT Act and the Veterans Disability Claims Notification Improvement Act, are part of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August.

The Food Security for All Veterans Act and AUTO for Veterans Act also passed. An office will be established to end veteran hunger at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Eligibility for disabled veterans to receive vehicles modified for their disability will be expanded.

With Expanding Home Loans for Guard and Reservists Act, eligibility for VA home loans will be expanded by counting active duty for training when Guard and Reservists are training for Special Forces, Aviation or Linguistics.

H.R. 5918 amends title 38 of the United States Code to ensure that members of Armed Forces are reimbursed for certain contributions made toward post 9/11 educational assistance.

REMOVE Copays Act prohibits the collection of copayments for the first three VA mental health outpatient appointments in each calendar year for veterans enrolled in the VA health care system.

Strengthening Whistleblower Protections at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides greater independence to the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP), and broadens protections for whistleblowers by clarifying definitions for prohibited personnel practices.

Supporting Families of the Fallen Act authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the maximum amount of a policy under the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance and Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance from $400,000 to $500,000.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.