December 18, 2015
Congress Passes and President Signs Omnibus Funding Bill for FY2016. Caregiver program increases now a reality!
Both the House and Senate passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (Omnibus appropriations bill) and the President signed it into law. Increased domestic discretionary funding and the end of the sequestration were made possible by enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 that was signed into law on November 2. After months of serious and sometimes contentious negotiations, enactment of this FY 16 funding bill means forward movement for supporting family caregivers.
Lifespan Respite received an additional $1 million for a total of $3.36 million, the National Family Caregiver Support Program will receive an increase of $5 million ($150.6 million), the Native Caregiver Support Program will receive an increase of $1.5 million ($7.5 million). The agreement also provides $605 million for the Veteran's Caregiver Support Program, which is $50 million above the President's budget request. The funding will support stipends paid directly to family caregivers of post-9/11 veterans seriously injured in the line of duty, as well as the national caregiver support line and increased support for caregiver support coordinators.
For summary table of FY 16 funding for key programs prepared by the National Respite Coalition, click here.
Thank The President and Congress
Please take a moment and reach out to your Senators, Representatives and the President to thank them for putting families first in the budget. To contact your House Representative, visit house.gov. To contact your US Senator, visit senate.gov. To contact the President, write, call or email the White House.
Read more about other programs receiving increases in the Senate amendment to H.R. 2029 - Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 [Consolidated Appropriations and Tax Measures]. See Division H for programs in the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Bill Text and Explanatory Statements
December 10, 2015
More than Fifty National Organizations Endorse Legislation Reauthorizing the Lifespan Respite Care Program
More than fifty diverse national organizations endorsing the Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Act (HR 3913) and/or the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act (HR 1969), which includes provisions to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program, sent letters to Capitol Hill expressing their support.
The Senate version of the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act (S.1085) was recently considered by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs as part of a broader package, the Increasing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability to Veterans Act of 2015 (S.290). The committee approved the broader package, clearing it for the Senate floor. However, the provision reauthorizing the Lifespan Respite Program through 2020 was dropped due to some members’ concerns about a funding offset. Fortunately, there will still be opportunities to add the Lifespan Respite Program provisions back in when the measure comes to the Senate floor, and as the legislation moves through the House of Representatives. The House version, HR 1969, introduced by Rep. Jim Langevin still includes the Lifespan Respite program reauthorization provisions.
The National Respite Coalition will continue to seek and accept endorsements from national organizations. If your national organization would like to sign onto one or all of these letters, please contact the National Respite Coalition.
Letter from National Organizations Endorsing the Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Act (HR 3913), click here.
Letter from National Organizations Endorsing the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act (HR 1969) to House Original Cosponsor, click here.
December 8, 2015
Senate Passes RAISE Act
On December 8, 2015, the Senate passed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1719), paving the way for House action. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act, introduced in the Senate by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop, maintain and update an integrated national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. The bill specifies actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take, including development of respite options, to recognize and support family caregivers. HR 3099, the bipartisan House companion bill, was introduced by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL).
Read more about the bill.
Lifespan Respite bill introduced on November 3, 2015
In Honor of National Family Caregivers Month and the theme Respite! Care for the Caregiver, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Disability Caucus, introduced the Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Act (HR 3913) on November 3. The bill would reauthorize the program through 2020 and has an authorization level of $75 million over five years. To access the text of the bill, a summary, and cosponsors as the information becomes available, visit Congress.gov. Now is the time to reach out to your Member of Congress and ask them to cosponsor the bill. See alert below for more information.
Legislative Alert Seeking Cosponsors
Summary of program with bill modifications
Bill and Updates at congress.gov
(you can subscribe to this page for updates)
House and Senate Appropriations Committees approve FY2016 Labor-
HHS-Education appropriations bills
In June, both the House and Senate Appropriations committees approved versions of the FY 2016 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bills. The house bill includes $2.36 million for Lifespan Respite (the same as FY 2015) and the Senate bill includes slightly less at $2.26 million. Most other discretionary programs, including the National Family Caregiver Support Program, were level funded. Final funding levels will most likely not be determined until late fall.
May 7, 2015
35 National Organizations send a letter to Congressional Appropriators
Today, through an effort spearheaded by the National Respite Coalition and the Lifespan Respite Task Force, 35 national organizations sent a letter to Congressional appropriators asking for $5.0 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Program, the amount included in the President’s FY 2016 budget. We are also seeking support for the National Family Caregiver Support Program ($150 million), the Native American Caregiver Support Program ($6.8 million), and for the new Family Support program ($15 million) proposed by the President.
Follow up with your Senator or House member and urge them to heed these recommendations. The NRC has prepared talking points to help you make the call.
April 23, 2015
Bipartisan Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act Introduced in House and Senate
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced legislation to assist family caregivers of wounded, ill, or injured veterans. The Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act (S. 1085; H.R. 1969) would expand upon the Department of Veterans Affairs’ current caregiver services program and reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program. The bill was inspired by a Rand study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation last year that highlighted the physical, emotional and financial challenges military and veteran caregivers face.
The legislation would:
• Make veterans of all eras eligible for caregiver support services
• Make the program more inclusive of veterans with mental health injuries
• Reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program for five years
• Give veterans the opportunity to transfer GI Bill benefits to a dependent, to help unemployed or underemployed spouses of injured veterans prepare to become the primary income earner for the family.
• Make caregivers who work in the federal government eligible for flexible work schedules
• Provide assistance to family caregivers with childcare, financial advice and legal counseling.
March 26, 2015
Twenty Members of Congress Send Letter of Support for FY 2016 Lifespan Respite Funding
On March 26, 2015, twenty members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee requesting $5 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Program in FY 2016. The President requested this amount for the program in his FY 2016 proposed budget. Since 2009, thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have received Lifespan Respite grants from the Administration for Community Living to improve access to respite services for family caregivers.
January 28, 2015
Senate Committee Approves Older American Act Reauthorization
The National Respite Coalition applauds the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for making the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act an immediate priority for the 114th Congress. Today the Committee took quick action and unanimously approved S. 192, the bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) with Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to extend authorization of the Older Americans Act. This legislation includes reauthorization of Title III-E, the National Family Caregiver Support Program, with a new provision extending eligibility to older parents of adult children with disabilities for family caregiver support services, including respite.
The National Respite Coalition joins other national, state and local organizations in calling for swift action in the Senate followed by timely consideration in the House.
To show your support, contact both your Senators and your Representative in the House and urge them to pass the bill quickly. For contact information, visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
Bill S. 192