This bill — known as the Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act — would increase monetary, medical, safety, and administrative support for Peace Corps volunteers. It’d increase the monthly pay rate for Peace Corps volunteers, require that they have access to medical facilities and a qualified Peace Corps Medical Officer at overseas outposts. Additionally, it’d require the Peace Corps to provide healthcare for returning volunteers with service-related conditions after the end of their service for 180 days while they wait for coverage through the Dept. of Labor to take effect.
Additionally, to improve volunteer safety, this bill would:
Mandate the provision of country-specific health and safety risk information to volunteers before they begin their Peace Corps deployments;
Provide better agency support for returned volunteers and victims of sexual assault and violence;
Improve policies and procedures for antimalarial drugs;
Increase disability payments for RPCVs that are disabled and unable to work due to service-related conditions;
Reauthorize and expand key provisions of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act to enhance the Peace Corps’ ability to assist and protect volunteers that have experienced sexual assault.
Regarding sexual assault, this bill would make the Office of Victim Advocacy in Health Corps headquarters permanent to support Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) who are subjected to violence. It would also make a number of changes to the Sexual Assault Advisory Council: 1) expanding its membership; 2) requiring that at least one council member have mental health field expertise, and 3) extended the council through October 1, 2023.
Finally, the administration-related parts of this bill would have the President of the Peace Corps conduct annual volunteer surveys through September 30, 2023 that are currently only required through September 2018; allow the Inspector General of the Peace Corps to hire an expert, consultant, or organization without regard to certain daily salary requirement; and require the Peace Corps to periodically report to Congress on volunteer access to health care benefits.