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NEW YORK – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), along with Democrat Co-Lead Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D, NY-4), re-introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1005) to help severely disabled veterans on Long Island and across the country, by expanding access to Adult Day Health Care for disabled veterans who need extra assistance and special attention in their day to day lives.
Service members who are 70% or more disabled from a service connected injury often require significant assistance from others in order to carry out basic everyday tasks. Many times, the burden falls on family members of disabled veterans; some veterans may even need to reside in institutionalized facilities to receive the daily assistance of a trained medical professional. Both of these options can create financial and emotional hardships. One program that is currently available to help disabled veterans is Adult Day Health Care, which can be offered at State Veterans Homes across the United States. However, the expense of the program is often times directly shouldered by the veteran and their family, which significantly limits the number of veterans who can enroll. The program is also only currently offered at three facilities in the United States; one being the Long Island State Veterans Home, which is located in the First Congressional District of New York, in Stony Brook. Congressman Zeldin’s bill would define the Adult Day Health Care program as a reimbursable treatment option through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which would guarantee that all severely disabled veterans, those who are 70% or more service connected disabled, are able to access Adult Day Health Care at no cost to them. The bill would also help expand the program, which could be offered at any of the 153 State Veterans Homes (SVH) across the country.
Congressman Zeldin said, “Passing this bill is an important way that we can help expand care for disabled veterans on Long Island and across our country. By providing disabled veterans with access to Adult Day Health Care, we can ensure that all veterans receive the best and most efficient outpatient services to provide them with the assistance and special attention that they need in their day to day lives, while still allowing them to maintain their independence. Adult Day Health Care programs allow veterans to lead a much more fulfilling life, and also helps keep families together and strong, while simultaneously reducing overall healthcare costs for the veteran. I will continue the fight in Congress to expand Adult Day Health Care for our disabled veterans to ensure that all veterans receive the proper treatment and care they deserve after fighting for our country.”
“Disabled veterans have sacrificed and suffered for our country, and we have a duty to ensure they have the care and support they need to overcome the challenges they live with every day as a result of their service,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “Expanding access to high-quality, individualized day-to-day care will give disabled veterans more independence, reduce health care costs, and significantly ease the burden on family caregivers. I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill and will keep working to get it passed.”
Last year, Congressman Zeldin’s bill (H.R. 2460) received strong bipartisan support in Congress, with over 50 cosponsors, including the entire Long Island Congressional Delegation. The bill passed the House unanimously with strong bipartisan support. The bill also received support from various Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), including the American Legion, AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).