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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 Action in the 113th Congress

These bills to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care program were introduced in the 113th Congress but not acted on. They will need to be reintroduced in the 114th Congress.  Check back soon!

Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act, HR 4683, click here.

Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2014 that includes a five year reauthorization of the
Lifespan Respite Care Program.

House bill, HR 4892, click here.
Senate bill, S 2243, click here.

Lifespan Respite Reauthorization bills introduced in the House and Senate (S. 2243, HR 4892, and H.R. 4683) 

Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2014 (S. 2243, HR 4892)

The March 2014 release of the report, Hidden Heroes: America's Military Caregivers prepared by the Rand Corporation for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation reignited Congressional support for the Lifespan Respite Program. The report cited the shortage of appropriate respite options for military caregivers and recommended that: "Respite care should be made more widely available to military caregivers, and alternative respite strategies should be considered."

On April 10, 2014, Senator Patty Murray introduced the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2014 (S. 2243) to expand eligibility and benefits for the Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently, only veterans since 9/11 are eligible, but the bill would extend eligibility to veterans from all eras and enhance benefits. The bill also reauthorizes the Lifespan Respite Care Program through 2019 at $15 million annually and makes more explicit the eligibility of caregivers of veterans.

On June 18, 2014, Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI), Mike Michaud (D-ME) and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) introduced the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2014, an identical companion bill to S 2243, in the House (HR 4892) and reauthorizes the LIfespan Respite Care Program through FY 2019. 

HR 4892     
S. 2243       
Bill Summary

Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act (HR 4683)

On May 20, 2014, Representative Jim Langevin reintroduced the stand alone version of the  Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act (HR 4683) to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 at $15 million per year over 5 years ($75 million total).  The bill is designed to build on the successes of coordinated respite services for family caregivers at the local, state and federal levels.

HR 4683     
One pager on HR 4683


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

2012 Respite Fact of the Year

NEW! Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied the records of over 28,000 children with autism ages 5 to 21 who were enrolled in Medicaid in 2004.  They concluded that for every $1,000 states spent on respite services in the previous 60 days, there was an 8 percent drop in the odds of hospitalization.

Source: David S. Mandell, ScD; Ming Xie, MS; Knashawn H. Morales, ScD; Lindsay Lawer, A; Megan McCarthy, MA; Steven C. Marcus, PhD.  The Interplay of Outpatient  Services and Psychiatric Hospitalization Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(1):68-73. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.714

  • When it comes to their own situation, family caregivers are most concerned about taking care of their own personal health (84%), not having enough respite care (83%), and meeting monthly financial needs (77%).  To see more survey results, see the NFCA/Allsup Family Caregiver Survey, 2011. 
  • From 2011 AARP Update, State-by-State Table on the Number of Caregivers and the Economic Value of Caregiving, 2009, click here.

    Source: Lynn Feinberg, Susan C. Reinhard, Ari Houser, and Rita Choula, Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, AARP Public Policy Institute, 2011.  To see full AARP Brief, click here.
  • Respite and Caregiving Fact Sheet, 2012, Click here.
  • Cost-Savings and Benefits Due to Respite Fact Sheet 2012Click here.
  • Fact Sheet: Respite for Children, 2012,Click here.

National Caregiving Fact

In 2009, about 42.1 million family caregivers in the United States provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time, and about 61.6 million provided care at some time during the year. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $450 billion in 2009, up from an estimated $375 billion in 2007. This amount ($450 billion) is more than total Medicaid spending in 2009, including both federal and state contributions for both health care and LTSS ($361 billion), and as much as the total sales of the world’s largest companies, including Wal-Mart ($408 billion in 2009, the most of any company) and the three largest publicly held auto companies combined (Toyota, Ford, Daimler: total $439 billion). Including caregiving for children with special needs in the total would add 4 to 8 million additional caregivers and another $50 to $100 billion to the economic value of family caregiving (Lynn Feinberg, Susan C. Reinhard, Ari Houser, and Rita Choula, Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, AARP Public Policy Institute, 2011).  To see full AARP Brief, click here.

Summary of the Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Act (HR 4683):

Use of Funds:

The Act 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 would be 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. 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. 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

Funding Authorization:

$15 m in FY 2015; $15 m in FY 16; $15 m in FY 17; $15 m in FY 18; $15 m in FY 19

National Resource Center:

Establishes National Resource Center on Lifespan Respite Care

Click here for a copy of the Legislation 
Click here for a Section-by-Section Summary of HR 4683


Jill Kagan, MPH
Chair, National Respite Coalition
Policy Division of the ARCH National Respite Network
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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

Check back soon to send Letters of Support for Lifespan Respite Program Reauthorization:



112th Congress

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.