House lawmakers passed legislation Monday that is designed to provide disabled veterans with additional housing upgrade grants. Now, the bill is waiting to be signed into law by President Trump.
The bill has been under review on Capitol Hill for more than a year, stuck in legislative gridlock despite the lack of significant opposition and despite being a priority of the Wounded Warrior Project, reported Military Times.
The Wounded Warrior Project argues that the current VA Specially Adaptive Housing Grant is too limited in its current form, and needs to be reworked.
The current program states that housing grants of up to $90,000, used for home upgrades to improve accessibility, can only be given to veterans once in a lifetime.
Advocates for the new bill argue that the program in its current state significantly limits a veterans ability to move or purchase a second home. Because of this, advocates of the new bill are pushing for a revamp of the “once-in-a-lifetime” limit and an increase in the maximum amount of funding per veteran.
“I know the difference that these benefits can make on a warriors home-life,”said Ryan Kules, a combat stress recovery director at Wounded Warrior Project who lost his right arm and left leg in a roadside bomb attack while serving in Iraq in 2005.
Kules, for whom the bill was named, has a personal stake in the passage of the bill, as he and his family were forced to factor in an additional $100,000 in costs when purchasing a new home in order to make it more accessible for him.
Under the new bill, wounded veterans will now be eligible for a home-upgrade grant every 10 years, with a payout cap of just under $100,000.
“[This is] such an important benefit that will serve severely wounded veterans today and for generations to come,” Kules said.
“Many veterans carry wounds from military service that make everyday life more challenging,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz, one of the bill sponsors.
“Our bipartisan bill breaks down barriers to help veterans access the specially adaptive housing benefits they’ve earned.”
President Trump is expected to officially sign the measure into law in the near future.