Call on Congress to Pass the Buddy Check Act
The American Legion’s “Buddy Check” program has been a great tool for our membership, and we were proud to draft legislation that expands this program to VA. The Senate has approved legislation that would make this a national program. Now, let’s make sure the House follows suit. If our Representatives don’t act before Congress recesses next month, it could be at least three months before they consider this legislation again. Or it could be dropped altogether.
S. 544 would direct VA to establish a “Buddy Check Week,” provide educational opportunities, materials, and references for veterans to learn how to conduct personal wellness checks, as well as require increased resources for the Veterans Crisis Line to handle any potential increased usage during the designated week. The bill is modeled after the American Legion’s “Buddy Check National Week of Calling” to connect veterans to better ensure that they receive the care they need.
The American Legion launched “Buddy Check Week” in 2019. It has since been expanded and encourages Legionnaires to conduct veteran outreach as part of their daily routine. The idea is to reconnect with veterans who may need assistance but don’t know where to go or who to ask.
We’ve seen successful stories arise out of buddy checks, before and during the pandemic. Thanks to these efforts, older veterans have received assistance in getting food and medicine, as well as having a comforting voice to talk with even for a few minutes.
Just think if that goodwill could receive the support of Congress and VA. The help veterans receive from buddy checks would skyrocket. You can help make this a reality by contacting your House representative to tell them to pass S. 544 today. It takes just a few moments by visiting this link.
The American Legion proudly supports this legislation, and asks that you call on your Representative to pass S.544 today!