(Washington, D.C.) Continuing to support our veterans, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers last night voted to increase payments to disabled veterans, their families, and their dependants and to establish a new federal program designed to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.
“We have a responsibility to support and care for our veterans when they return home and provide them with adequate funding and resources to live healthy and productive lives,” said McMorris Rodgers. “We also must take seriously the increasing need to address mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder. Our local facilities at Walla Walla and Spokane must continue to offer accessible and quality mental health care. Let us never forget that these men and women have given their all to preserve our freedom.”
The Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act (H.R. 1284) increases payments to disabled veterans and their families in the following areas: wartime disability compensation, compensation to surviving spouses and children of veterans who die of service-connected causes, additional compensation for dependants, and clothing allowance
The Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (H.R. 327) takes multiple steps to provide for the mental well-being of our veterans. It directs the VA to designate a suicide prevention counselor at each VA medical facility and would provide mandatory training for staff on recognizing risk factors for suicide, proper protocol for crisis situations, and best practices for suicide prevention.
In addition, the program would provide for mental health care availability to veterans on a 24-hour basis, through the creation of a toll-free hotline. The program also provides education for veterans and their families, designed to remove the stigma associated with mental illness, encourage veterans to seek treatment and assistance for mental illness, promote skills for coping with mental illness, and help families of veterans understand issues arising from the readjustment of veterans to civilian life. A special emphasis will be placed on providing education and service to veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their families.