House passes vets bills

WASHINGTON — The House on Monday passed a suite of bills to benefit military veterans, including several sponsored by Nevada lawmakers.

A bill by Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., that would allow certain disabled veterans to qualify for more generous housing aid passed by voice vote.

When the Department of Housing and Urban Development calculates an applicant’s income for a housing allowance, the bill would exempt up to $8,191 in “aid and attendance” benefits now given to disabled vets who need assisted living care.

Heck argued disabled veterans were being shortchanged. The assisted living benefit was not income, he argued, but was for needed medical care.

A bill by Rep Dina Titus, D-Nev., would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to include an appeals form whenever it notifies a veteran by mail that a claim has been denied. The bill, which passed by voice vote, “eliminates an unnecessary bureaucratic step,” she said.

Another Titus measure, the “Pay as You Rate” act, requires the VA to pay benefits to vets as components of their claims are adjudicated, rather than waiting for the entire case to be completed.

That bill passed 404-1 after it was bundled with other bills aimed to reducing a VA claims backlog.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Follow @STetreaultDC on Twitter


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