Reps. Mike Levin and Barry Moore Announce Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Veterans’ Clothing Allowance
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Barry Moore (R-AL) introduced the Mark O’Brien VA Clothing Allowance Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill to help veterans replace clothing that is routinely damaged by prosthetics, orthopedic devices, or skin medicines that they need as a result of active-duty injuries. A fact sheet on the bill is available here.
The bill would amend an existing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clothing allowance program by enabling payments to continue on an automatically recurring annual basis until the veteran elects to no longer receive payments or VA determines the veteran is no longer eligible. Currently, a veteran must provide a clothing allowance form to their local VA medical center annually, an unnecessarily burdensome process for those who have a lifelong condition that requires a device or medicine which damages their clothing.
“Veterans with service-connected conditions should not be on the hook for the cost of clothing damaged by their prosthetics, orthopedic devices, or medicine,” said Rep. Mike Levin. “Our bill cuts through red tape at the VA to make it easier for veterans to receive the clothing allowances they deserve. I’m proud to introduce this bill with Rep. Moore, and I am hopeful we can pass it with wide bipartisan support soon.”
"Our nation's heroes shouldn't have to face repetitive red tape to receive the assistance they deserve," said Rep. Moore. "By removing burdensome hurdles, our bipartisan bill streamlines the process for our veterans to collect a clothing allowance. I'm proud to work with Rep. Levin in providing a commonsense solution that ensures our veterans have easier access to this beneficial program."
The VA will provide a clothing allowance to a veteran if his/her prosthetic or orthopedic device or skin medicine causes damage to his/her clothes, and he/she needs this device or skin medicine because of a service-connected condition (e.g., limb loss, severe burns). Approximately 40,000 veterans were approved for the clothing allowance benefit in Fiscal Year 2020. To receive the benefit, a veteran must file a claim for disability compensation and provide a clothing allowance form to their local VA medical center by August 1. Payments are made between September 1-October 31. A veteran can get $841.36 paid once, but can reapply in future years if he/she meets one of the following conditions: has more than one prosthetic or orthopedic device; has more than one skin medicine; or his/her device or skin medicine affects more than one type of clothing. Veterans have expressed that reapplying each year is burdensome, particularly those who have a lifelong condition that requires a device or medicine which damages their clothing.
The Following Organizations support the Mark O’Brien VA Clothing Allowance Improvement Act:
- Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
- Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
- Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
- Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA)
- Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)
- The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA)
- USCG Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA)
Click here for text of the legislation.