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Senate Passes Respite Care Program Revival Bill

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Members of the Senate have voted unanimously to pass S. 995, the Senate’s version of the  “Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019″ bill.

S. 995 would provide $50 million in state respite care grant funding from 2020 through 2024.


The House passed its own version of the bill, H.R. 2035, by a voice vote July 24. That version would provide in state respite care grant funding.

The lead sponsor for S. 995 is Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Her bill has four cosponsors, according to the bill page: Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

The House version was sponsored by Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I.

Respite care programs can pay for short-term home care or other short-term services for family caregivers who need to take time off.

Federal respite care grant funding expired in 2011.

The federal Administration for Community Living provided $4 million in respite care grants for 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Many state and national groups, including AARP and the Arc of the United States,  are supporting respite care funding authorization. One of the groups supporting reauthorization is the National Alliance for Caregiving, an organization that represents many companies with an interest in supporting caregivers. The list of alliance members includes Centene Corp., Genworth Financial Inc., Humana Inc.,  Long Term Care Partners, Transamerica and UnitedHealthcare.

Collins said in a comment included in a bill passage announcement that respite call is essential for all caregivers.

“It helps to reduce the mental stress and physical health issues they may experience,” Collins said. “With Senate passage of our bill, we are one step closer to giving family caregivers and their loved ones the support they need by ensuring that quality respite care is available and accessible.”

— Read 5 Things to Know About Getting Caregivers a Breakon ThinkAdvisor.

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