113th Congress, Second Session: Eliminate the Cap on Independent Living Services
With the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Independent Living (IL) program proving to be an integral part of the rehabilitation process, Congress has expanded the cap for total participation several times to the current level of 2,700. As a result, VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) management must monitor total veterans enrolled into this program ensuring participation will not exceed the cap. However, monitoring the program to limit participation is contradictory to the mission of providing the best options for disabled veterans.
Complicating matters is the requirement to count each IL program created for a veteran towards the cap. One veteran may require multiple IL programs within the same fiscal year, and each of those IL programs count towards the cap. Such a policy has the potential to exclude disabled veterans from receiving services under the IL program even though demand for these services might exceed the limited number. For this reason, Congress should remove the cap on the Independent Living program. All rehabilitation options, including independent living, must be available for veterans that require such services, regardless of the number of veterans seeking those services.