MOAA-Backed Bill Would Help Veterans, Survivors Qualify for Housing Assistance

MOAA-Backed Bill Would Help Veterans, Survivors Qualify for Housing Assistance
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A bipartisan House bill would make more veterans eligible for federal housing assistance by eliminating their service-earned disability benefits from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income calculations.


The Home for the Brave Act (H.R. 6179) also removes Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from such calculations, making these benefits available to more survivors. Other federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, already exclude such service-related compensation from income.


VA payments to veterans and survivors “should not restrict their access to housing programs when in need,” MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), said in support of the bill. “MOAA urges Congress to swiftly enact the Home for the Brave Act and expand housing opportunities for those who have sacrificed for our country.”


The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, along with the National Coalition for the Homeless, joined MOAA in endorsing the legislation, introduced Nov. 6 by Reps. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) and Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.). Both representatives have sponsored similar legislation in previous years, dating back to 2017.


[RELATED: VA’s New Program Rollout Includes Free Health Care for World War II Veterans]


“Our veterans put their lives at great risk to keep all of us safe back home,” Smucker said in a release announcing the bill’s reintroduction. “To return home and be priced out of housing assistance simply because they receive service-related disability benefits is just plain wrong.”


Many HUD programs include income caps as part of the eligibility process, often scaled to local income levels. The average VA disability recipient receives more than $20,000 a year, per VA figures, and the average DIC recipient getting more than $18,000 annually – not enough for basic housing needs, in many cases, but enough to make the beneficiary ineligible for federal aid available to others with similar income from non-VA sources.


“It is wrong to deny veterans access to housing assistance programs due to disability benefits they receive for service-related injury or illness," Carbajal said in the release. “They stepped up to defend our nation and now Congress must step up for them by ending this housing discrimination against our disabled veterans.”


Keep track of this and other pieces of MOAA-supported legislation at MOAA’s Legislative Action Center. In addition to bill tracking, the center offers a list of key advocacy issues, sample messages for lawmakers, and legislator information, including contact details.  


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley