August 11, 2022

Cortez Masto Introduces Bill to Increase Benefits for Veterans With Service-Related Medical Issues

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced legislation to help disabled veterans who need to make accessibility improvements to their homes. The Autonomy for Disabled Veterans Act would increase the amount allowed under current grant programs for home improvements and other structural alterations to $10,000. Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Al Lawson (D-Fla.-05).

“We honor veterans’ sacrifice for our country by making sure we care for them after they leave the service,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Many of our veterans need to make improvements to their homes to accommodate a medical issue, and this bill will increase the funds they have to make those critical alterations.”

“Support for our veterans is more crucial than ever in these challenging times,” Rep. Lawson said. “To ensure continued usability and with the inevitability of inflation, HISA grant maximums must be increased for veterans with service-connected disabilities. The Autonomy for Disabled Veterans Act enables them to make improvements and structural alterations furnished as part of home health services. This important funding provides our veterans the independence and comfort that all Americans deserve when they heroically served our country.”

“The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grant provides financial assistance so veterans and active duty servicemembers can make medically necessary improvements and structural alterations to their primary residences,” said Heather Ansley, Associate Executive Director of Government Relations at Paralyzed Veterans of America. “Regrettably, its rates haven’t been raised in more than a dozen years so today’s grants fall well below what is needed to complete even the simplest modifications to their homes. Passage of the Autonomy for Disabled Veterans Act would restore HISA grant rates to realistic levels and help ensure they remain that way for years to come."

The Department of Veteran Affairs Home Improvements and Structural Alterations program (HISA) offers funds to help eligible disabled veterans with service-related medical issues make alterations to their homes to accommodate their medical needs. The Autonomy for Disabled Veterans Act would increase the amount available under this program from the current ceiling of $6,800 to $10,000.  

The Autonomy for Disabled Veterans Act has been endorsed by Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Goldstar Mothers, Blinded Veterans Association, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Senator Cortez Masto is a champion in the Senate advocating for our veterans and their families. She recently helped pass the bipartisan PACT Act to ensure that veterans can get access to care and treatment they are entitled to in the wake of toxic exposures during their service to our country.  In December, her legislation to protect VA benefits for student veterans was signed into law. She recently introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for veterans who have a service-related medical condition to get the benefits they are owed. Cortez Masto has passed legislation through the annual National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) to help veterans exposed to Agent Orange get the treatment they need. As part of the NDAA of 2021, she secured measures to improve mental health services for members of the National Guard and Reserves, support veterans in getting the retirement benefits owed to them, and increase the transparency and efficiency of the Department of Defense’s TRICARE medical billing practices.