WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed three bipartisan bills that Senator Hassan worked to advance as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee: the Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act, the Veterans’ Disability Compensation COLA Act, and the Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID-19 Act.
“Veterans put their lives on the line to keep our country safe, secure, and free, and we must ensure that veterans and their families have the support that they need and deserve after their service,” said Senator Hassan. “I am glad that we passed bipartisan bills that will expand job opportunities for veterans and strengthen the benefits that veterans and their families receive, especially in heartbreaking situations where a veteran dies from COVID-19. I urge the House of Representatives to quickly pass these important bills as well.”
Senator Hassan joined in introducing the Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act, which directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a program that will help actively recruit medical personnel, who are within one year of completing their military service, to remain in federal health care in departments like Veterans Affairs.
The Veterans’ Disability Compensation COLA Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, would require the federal government to provide disabled veterans with an automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) in years when there is an increase in benefits payable under Title II of the Social Security Act, which sets the requirements for disability insurance benefits.
The Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID-19 Act, which Senators Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen cosponsored, ensures that family members of veterans who passed away due to COVID-19 receive the dependent benefits they’ve earned. Currently, veterans who pass away from COVID-19 may have their cause of death labeled as COVID-19 without accounting for service-related disabilities that further complicate their coronavirus diagnosis. This bill ensures those disabilities are taken into account so family members have access to the proper benefits.
These bipartisan bills are part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen support for veterans. Earlier this year, Senator Hassan helped to pass into law the SAVE LIVES Act to expand COVID-19 vaccine access to all veterans, their spouses, and their caregivers through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The American Rescue Plan that Senator Hassan helped pass into law strengthens veterans’ health care services, including to support mental health and telehealth, and also includes significant funding for job training to help veterans get good-paying jobs. In addition, Senator Hassan successfully pushed to ensure that COVID-19 economic impact payments are issued automatically to those who receive VA pension, disability, or survivor benefits. Senator Hassan also helped secure key priorities for Granite State veterans in the bipartisan veterans package that was signed into law earlier this year, including the Deborah Sampson Act, which Senator Hassan joined in introducing to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face.