Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate: H.R. 5029, Expanding the Families of Veterans Access to Mental Health Services Act   [open pdf - 185KB]

This is the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] Cost Estimate as ordered reported by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs on November 4, 2021. From the Document: "Under current law, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides bereavement counseling to family members when an active-duty service member's death is determined to have occurred in the line of duty. H.R. 5029 would require VA to provide counseling to families of veterans or service members who die by suicide, and the bill would apply to deaths that occur before, on, or after the date of enactment. Suicides by service members are generally considered to occur in the line of duty; therefore, most survivors of service members are eligible under current law. Using data from VA, CBO estimates that under H.R. 5029, roughly 3,000 of the 6,000 families of veterans that would be newly eligible each year would use counseling services. CBO expects that, on average, each family would attend 12 counseling sessions, at a cost of about $190 per session. CBO assumes that the bill will be enacted in the middle of fiscal year 2022 and expects that the families of some veterans who died in 2021 would seek counseling in 2022 and 2023. After adjusting for inflation, CBO estimates that meeting the bill's requirements would cost $29 million over the 2022-2026 period. Such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds."

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