On July 22, President Barack Obama signed into law P.L. 114-197, the Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2016. This measure will provide an increase in the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans. The increase will be effective Dec. 1.
This bill does not contain the round-down provision of previous years that reduced compensation and pension payments by millions of dollars at the expense of service-connected disabled veterans and their families.
CARA signed into law
On July 22, Obama enacted P.L. 114-198, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. The law seeks to enhance community resources to tackle an ongoing opioid overdose epidemic, which claimed the lives of 28,000 Americans in 2014.
The measure requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to more closely track opioid use by veterans in its health-care system and to expand an opioid safety initiative at VA medical facilities nationwide. No funding has been approved for this measure.
The bill also authorizes $103 million annually through fiscal 2021 for the Justice Department to award grants to state, local and tribal governments to provide services relating to opioid abuse, including first-responder training for opioid overdose reversal drugs and treatment alternatives to incarceration programs. It also will establish a Health and Human Services Department grant program for states to encourage pharmacies to dispense opioid overdose reversal drugs pursuant to a “standing order,” which permits pharmacists to dispense medication without a person-specific prescription.