BVA is constantly seeking the support of legislators in enacting policies that will assist blinded veterans, monitoring favorable legislation, and keeping members apprised of new information regarding legislation. Our members are represented on the Hill during congressional committee meetings – and with individual congressional members and their staff – by the government relations team. BVA has successfully supported several key pieces of legislation in the past – and looks forward to continuing to fight the good fight for blinded veterans in the year ahead.
It is our hope that this second session of the 116th Congress will proactively address the following critically important issues:
I. Ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implements caregiver benefits for catastrophically disabled veterans of “ALL” war eras – mandating that eligibility criteria be inclusive of caregivers for blinded veterans;
II. Enact H.R. 3504 modernizing VA’s Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program – mandating eligibility criteria be inclusive of legally blind veterans;
III. Enact H.R. 1199 mandating VA’s compliance with website accessibility as required by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 United States Code §794d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-220);
IV. Enact H.R. 4589 making permanent the authority of VA’s Secretary to award grants for the transportation of highly rural veterans to medical care;
V. We support and urge swift Senate passage of H.R. 4920 continuing VA contracting with AbilityOne® programs that employ blinded and visually impaired veterans;
VI. We support adequate funding of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Blind Rehabilitation Services (BRS);
VII. We support improving programs and services for women veterans;
VIII. We support Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations of $30 million for the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Vision Research Program (VRP) strengthening the “ONLY” research program focused on prevention and treatment of combat-related ocular trauma and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) visual dysfunction;
IX. We call upon Congress, VA, and DoD to request that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASDHA) – working with our United Kingdom (UK) Defence Medical colleagues, Universities, and non-profit associations – to sign a five-year agreement establishing a Joint International Ocular Trauma Task Force;
X. We urge Congress to mandate DoD Defense Health Agency (DHA) compliance with Section 703 of the National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 114-328) for (FY17) requesting the designation of four ocular trauma centers.
Download Blinded Veterans Association’s 2020 Congressional priorities.