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Legislative Action Center:
Reauthorization of the Lifespan Respite Act


The Policy Division of the 
ARCH National Respite Network

Lifespan Respite Reauthorization in the 114th Congress

Lifespan Respite Reauthorization introduced in the House and Senate as a Provision in Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act (S. 1085; H.R. 1969) 

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.

Bill Summary


Past Activity on Lifespan Respite Reauthorization in the 112th Congress

Video Statements of House Champions presented at the 2011 National Lifespan Respite Conference in Arizona on November 2, 2011 in support of introduction of HR 3266 in the 112th Congress.  This bill was not acted on.

Langevin Rodgers
Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) Video Link
Representative Catherine McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) Video Link

FACTS and Talking Points for Respite, click here

Summary of the Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Provisions in S. 1085; H.R. 1969:

Use of Funds:

The Lifespan Respite Program law authorizes competitive grants to eligible state agencie in collaboration with a public or private non-profit state respite coalition or organization to make quality respite available and accessible to family caregivers regardless of age or disability. Aging and Disability Resource Centers must be involved as collaborators as well. The law allows grantees to identify, coordinate and build on federal, state and local respite resources and funding streams, and would help support, expand and streamline planned and emergency respite, provider recruitment and training, and caregiver training. Grantees will have the option of using funds for training programs for family caregivers in making informed decisions about respite services; for other services essential to the provision of respite; and for training and education for new caregivers.

What is a Lifespan Respite Program?

A lifespan respite program provides a coordinated system of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers of children and adults with special needs.

Lead Agency Eligibility

Funds are provided on a competitive grant basis to specified state agencies or an agency appointed by the Governor. The state lead entity must involve an Aging and Disability Resource Center and work in collaboration with a public or private nonprofit statewide respite coalition or organization (memorandum of agreement required in application). Priority would be given to applicants who show the greatest likelihood of implementing or enhancing lifespan respite care statewide.

Who Can Access Lifespan Respite Programs?

Caregivers who are family members, foster parents, or other adults providing unpaid (clarified in report language) care for an adult or child with a special need may access these programs. This legislation adds family caregivers of veterans who are receiving compensation under the VA Caregiver Support Program. Adult with special need is defined broadly as a person 18 years of age or older who requires care or supervision to meet the person's basic needs, to prevent physical self-injury or injury to others,or to avoid placement in an institutional facility. This legislation adds a veteran to the definition. A child with a special need is a person less than 18 years of age who requires care or supervision beyond that required of children generally to meet the child's basic needs or prevent physical self-injury or injury to others.

Application Submission

The Governor submits application on behalf of the State Agency that administers the Older American's Act, the State's Medicaid program, or another agency designated by the Governor.

Federal Administration

Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to work in cooperation with the National Family Caregiver Support Program Officer of the Administration on Aging and other respite care programs within the Department to ensure coordination of respite for family caregivers. This legislation adds involvement of interagency working group on policies relating to caregivers of veterans to be established under the new Military and Veterans Caregiver Services porgram authorized by this legislation.

Funding Authorization:

$15 m for each of fiscal years 2016-2020.

National Resource Center:

Establishes National Resource Center on Lifespan Respite Care


Jill Kagan, MPH
Chair, National Respite Coalition
Policy Division of the ARCH National Respite Network
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Contact Congress


To contact your US House member,
visit here

To contact your US Senator,
visit here

Fact Sheet: Benefits and Cost-Savings of Respite
Click here.

114th Congress

Bipartisan Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act Introduced in House and Senate includes reauthorization of the Lifespan Respite Program.

S. 1085
HR 1969

Past Congresses

National Respite Coalition delivers two official statements to Senate HELP Committee Staff on OAA and Lifespan Respite Reauthorization (signed by 35 national organizations)

ObamaTransition Team Brief:
Presented to President-elect Obama's Transition Team (Dec. 2008). Click here.

NRC Testifies before the House Veteran's Affairs Health Subcommittee on Meeting the Needs of Family Caregivers of Veterans. (June 4, 2009). Click here.