A provision sponsored by Congressman Anthony Brindisi is now a part of landmark legislation that would modernize the VA for women Veterans.
The new Deborah Sampson Act passed through the House yesterday (October 29), which aims to eliminate barriers many women veterans face to care and services.
Data shows women are the fastest-growing demographic of Veterans and are also more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and go without needed health care.
Brindisi’s provision to the bill would statutorily require the VA’s Women Veterans Call Center to be accessible via text and create an online, one-stop-shop for women Veterans’ benefits.
“I am thrilled that the Deborah Sampson Act will include my bill to increase access to benefits for women Veterans,” Brindisi said. “This landmark legislation would build on efforts by VA and this Committee to ensure all women Veterans are aware of the hard-earned resources and benefits available to them and where to turn if they are struggling.”
The Women Veterans Call Center is currently available via text, but Brindisi’s legislation would codify that in law.
Additionally, the legislation requires the VA to create a centralized page in which women Veterans can access gender-specific information, pages, and resources throughout the VA system.
This page would include the locations of medical centers, CBOC’s and contact information for women’s health coordinators. Brindisi’s legislation would also require it to be updated at least every 90 days.
Brindisi’s full testimony from yesterday (October 29) is below:
I’d like to thank Chairman Takano, Ranking Member Roe, and the Deborah Sampson Act’s Sponsor, Congresswoman Brownley, for their commitment to improving access and care for our women Veterans.
I also want to thank Chairwoman Brownley for including my bill in the Deborah Sampson Act, to require VA’s Women Veterans Call Center to be accessible via text message.
The bill also makes navigating VA websites easier by requiring VA to create a one-stop-shop for women Veterans’ benefits in the form of a central web page where women veterans can access various information regarding the extensive resources available to them within VA.
This bill will build on efforts by VA and this Committee to ensure all women Veterans are aware of the hard-earned resources and benefits available to them and where to turn if they are struggling.
Women are the fastest growing demographic within the Veteran population and we need to make it easier to connect them with VA resources.
As more women servicemembers separate from service and transition into VA care, it is important VA has the tools in place to support them, and that women Veterans know what is available to them.
Again, I thank the Committee for its attention to this important issue, I support passage of this bill, and I yield back.