WASHINGTON – A bill announced in Congress on Tuesday would allow certain disabled veterans to qualify for more generous federal housing aid.
The legislation would ease the way for veterans who receive a special "aid and attendance" pension for low-income retirees who require assisted living care.
Veterans can received up to $8,191 in aid and attendance benefits annually. But the problem, according to Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., is that the funds are counted as income when a veteran applies for government housing assistance.
The bill, introduced Thursday by Heck and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, would exempt aid and attendance benefits from being considered as income when the Department of Housing and Urban Development determines veteran housing subsidies.
"We have disabled veterans in the community that are getting this allowance and they are having it turned around and having it counted against them as income and they are losing part of their housing allowance from HUD," Heck said.
"This money isn’t disposable income, it is earmarked for their medical care," Heck said.
Heck said his advisory council of Southern Nevada veterans brought the issue to his attention.
It was not immediately known how many veterans are affected. The national Veterans of Foreign Wars organization has taken up the issue.