Legislative Action Center:
Reauthorization of the Lifespan Respite Act


The Policy Division of the 
ARCH National Respite Network

10th Anniversary of Enactment of the Lifespan Respite Care Act Renews Call for Network Action

On December 21, 2006, the Lifespan Respite Care Act was passed by Congress. 2016 marks the 10th Anniversary of the bill's enactment. The National Respite Coalition and its partners in the Lifespan Respite Task Force are working closely with the Congressional champions of the Lifespan Respite Care Reuthorization Act of 2015 (HR 3913), Rep. Jim Langevin and Rep. Gregg Harper, to get the bill passed this year.  

YOU can help!  Call or write your Member of Congress and urge them to become a cosponsor of HR 3913 and support swift passage this year! Now is the opportune time to make your voices heard.  Use this alert for more information on how to contact your House Member and for talking points. Then circuate the alert widely! We need at least 100 cosponsors from both parties to sign on in the next month to make this effort a reality and keep the Lifespan Respite Program intact! 

10th Anniversary

Let's Celebrate December 21, 2016 - Tenth Anniversary of Enactment of the Lifespan Respite Care Act!

Legislative Alert

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.

Press Release

Summary of Bill Provisions

Legislative Alert

Letter from 59 National Organizations Endorsing HR 3913

Letter from AARP endorsing HR 3913


Bipartisan Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act Introduced in House and Senate

Update: In December, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act (S. 1085)  was marked-up in committee as part of S. 425, the vehicle for a "veterans omnibus" bill.  Unfortunately, the Lifespan Respite provisions were dropped from the bill. The NRC is exploring opportunities to add the Lifespan Respite provisions back when S.425 comes to the Senate Floor for a vote. The House bill, HR 1969, still includes the Lifespan Respite provisions.

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) 

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

Letter from National Organizations Endorsing HR 1969 and S 1085

House Letter
Senate Letter


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 Lifespan Respite Care Program (modifications as a result of provisions in H.R. 3913 and H.R. 1969 in italics):

Use of Funds:

The Lifespan Respite Program law authorizes competitive grants to eligible state agencies 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. A memorandum of agreement is required in the 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. 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. (H.R. 1969 adds family caregivers of veterans who are receiving compensation under the VA Caregiver Support Program). 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. (HR 1969 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. (Both HR 3913 and HR 1969 include these authorization levels).

National Resource Center:

Establishes National Resource Center on Lifespan Respite Care

Data Collection and Reporting (added by HR 3913)

Each eligible State agency awarded a Lifespan Respite grant will be required to collect, maintain, and report such data to enable the Secretary to 1) to monitor State administration of programs and activities ; and 2) to evaluate, and to compare effectiveness on a State-by-State basis, of Lifespan Respite grant programs and activities.


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