H.R. 3495 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make grants over a three-year period to organizations that provide suicide-prevention services for veterans and their family members. The bill also would require VA to train grant recipients on how to collect and report to VA the information they must provide as a condition of those grants. It would require VA to assess and report on the effectiveness of the program.
Using information from VA regarding the time needed to solicit and select grantees, CBO expects that VA would make the first grants in 2021. Under the bill, VA would award up to 25 grants in the first year, 35 in the second year, and 50 in the third and final year. VA may award grants of up to $750,000 to each recipient in any year. CBO estimates that awarding those grants would cost $83 million over the 2021-2024 period. CBO expects that VA would hire four additional staff, at an average annual compensation of $130,000, to administer the grant program. CBO estimates that compensating those employees would cost $2 million over the 2020-2024 period.
The bill also would authorize appropriations of $1 million for each year of the program for VA to provide training and assistance to grantees. CBO estimates that those activities as well as an assessment of the program would cost $5 million over the 2021-2024 period.
In total, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3495 would cost $90 million over the
2020-2024 period; subject to the availability of appropriations.