Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Lloyd Smucker (PA-16)
Legislation combats veteran homelessness & ensures disabled veterans are not denied access to affordable housing programs.
Washington, DC – Representative Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11) reintroduced the bipartisan Home For The Brave Act of 2021 with Representative Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24). The bill would exempt veterans’ VA disability benefits from counting toward total income when determining their eligibility for housing assistance programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The bipartisan bill earned the endorsement of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
“Our veterans have put their lives at great risk to keep all of us safe back home. To return home and be priced out of housing assistance simply because they receive service-related disability benefits is just plain wrong,” said Rep. Smucker. “Our district has made great strides to eliminate veteran homelessness, and I am proud to stand with my constituents in this noble effort. I want to thank Rep. Carbajal for his work on behalf of our nation’s veterans and their families and look forward to working together to get this legislation passed.”
“It is wrong to deny veterans access to housing assistance programs due to disability benefits they receive for service-related injury or illness,” said Rep. Carbajal. “I am glad to work across the aisle on this legislation to assist our veterans experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity on the Central Coast and across the country. They stepped up to defend our nation and now Congress must step up for them by ending this egregious housing discrimination against our disabled veterans.”
Financial benefits for service-connected disabilities are currently counted as income when determining eligibility for housing assistance programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As a result, many veterans are determined ineligible for these housing programs because their disability benefits are placing them at a higher income level. Other agencies, including the International Revenue Service (IRS), do not consider veterans benefits for service-connected disabilities income.
Read the full text of the Home For The Brave Act of 2021 here.
What They’re Saying:
“The VFW supports this legislation to ensure veterans will be able to fully utilize their earned benefits without the penalty of financial offsets,” said VFW Director of National Legislative Services, Patrick Murray. “Using one earned VA benefit should never prevent a veteran from using another unrelated benefit. The VFW is glad to see this issue has the bipartisan support it deserves, and we thank Congressmen Carbajal and Smucker for making this a priority.”
“Every US citizen is deeply indebted to all those who wear the American flag on their uniform, and it is time for us to pay back that debt by ending homelessness among anyone who was ever enlisted in the armed forces,” said Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless Donald Whitehead. By making housing more affordable to disabled veterans, we move closer to the day when our nation’s veterans do not have to deal with all the long term health consequences associated with living on the streets.”
“The bipartisan Home for the Brave Act provides an essential fix to help our nation’s homeless veterans ensure they have expanded housing opportunities. Service-disabled veterans are receiving payments because they were harmed serving our country and any payments we owe them should not limit access to housing assistance programs when they are in need,” said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAD (Ret), President and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America. “MOAA thanks Reps. Carbajal and Smucker for their leadership on this issue and for encouraging Congress to move swiftly and pass this bill.”
“No veteran should face housing discrimination based on their service-connected disability, but right now that is exactly what many face with Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) housing assistance programs,” said National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford, The American Legion. “The American Legion is proud to stand with Representative Carbajal in support of the Home for the Brave Act, which would close the loophole that counts service-related disability benefits as income for consideration of housing assistance programs.”