Bipartisan Joyce Bill to Support Veterans Signed into Law

Oct 19, 2022
Press
Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, President Biden signed the Solid Start Act, bipartisan legislation introduced in the House by Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), into law. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Maggie Hassan (NH), makes permanent the Solid Start pilot program, which contacts every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty to connect them with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and benefits. The program also prioritizes outreach to veterans who accessed mental health resources prior to separation in order to quickly connect at-risk veterans to services.

“I was proud to introduce this bill to ensure the brave men and women who have served our country don’t slip through the cracks,” Joyce said. “The transition to civilian life is not always an easy one, but with this bill now signed into law, our veterans will have better access to the care and support they need to live healthy, happy and successful lives.”

A 2017 report revealed that, among veterans who died by suicide, 62% had not been in contact with the VA. Additionally, in an American Legion survey, 40% of veterans responded that were unsure whether they were eligible for VA mental health services. Data released by the VA late last year showed that in the first nine months of the Solid Start program, the VA successfully contacted more than 157,000 newly separated veterans, including over 24,000 veterans who had sought mental health support in their last year of service. You can learn more about the Solid Start Act here.

The son of a WWII veteran, Joyce has made improving services and care for veterans one of his top priorities in Congress. In the 117thCongress, Joyce has cosponsored more than 50 pieces of legislation to improve the quality of life for veterans and introduced H.R. 1123, the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act. Recently, Joyce supported passage of the PACT Act. Now law, the PACT Act expands health care benefits to millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service.

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