WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 2021) – Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) today testified in support of veterans’ interests on a variety of legislation that was the subject of hearings before the U.S. Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees.
WWP Director of Government Affairs Derek Fronabarger delivered oral and written testimony before the House VA Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. Fronabarger stressed the importance of passing H.R. 4772, the Mark O’Brien VA Clothing Allowance Improvement Act. The bill is named after WWP alumnus Mark O’Brien.
“One of the challenges faced by veterans whose injuries require the use of prosthetics and wheelchairs is that these devices often cause significant wear and tear to their clothing,” Fronabarger testified. “This is also true of veterans who require medications and ointments for skin conditions, such as severe burns. The need to frequently replace clothing that would have otherwise remained serviceable can create a significant financial burden for these veterans.”
Fronabarger said the Department of Veterans Affairs has a clothing allowance to address this need, but he pointed out that the current application system is often too burdensome.
“As a consequence of the bureaucratic requirements associated with this benefit, many veterans are either unable or choose not to take advantage of it at all,” he testified. “The Mark O’Brien VA Clothing Allowance Improvement Act would solve this problem.”
Fronabarger also spotlighted WWP’s support for legislation that would lift limits on life insurance payments for the death of a service member or veteran. He pointed out that benefit caps for the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) programs haven’t been updated since 2005. During the past 16 years, inflation has risen over 40%, which has reduced the value of those benefits.
“The Supporting Families of the Fallen Act would increase the maximum amount of coverage to $500,000 to reflect inflation increases,” Fronabarger said. “This would help provide families with greater financial security.”
Fronabarger also voiced support for legislation that would improve treatment for survivors of military sexual trauma (MST), H.R. 2724, the VA Peer Support Enhancement for MST Survivors Act. The bill would better integrate emotional support into the benefits process by establishing a peer support specialist program specific to MST claims at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).
“We believe this bill has the potential to enhance support for MST survivors as they engage in VBA’s claims process, connect more veterans to appropriate care, and better integrate peer support into the VA system,” Fronabarger said.
WWP also supported legislation addressing MST in its written testimony before the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, backing the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act. The bill would make several significant improvements to how VA provides support for survivors of MST.
In its Senate testimony, WWP also expressed support for several other bills, including S. 2283, the REACH for Veterans Act, and S. 2852, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act.
To read WWP’s full U.S. Senate testimony, click here. For the full U.S. House testimony, click here. Finally, learn more about WWP's legislative priorities and how we work with our nation's leaders to improve the lives of wounded veterans and their families.
Contact: — Ed Frank, Senior Public Affairs / Communications Specialist email@example.com, 904.510-5504
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.