Military Update: Many angles to caregiver bill
By Tom Philpott
Special to Stars and Stripes
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, endorsed House changes to the original Senate bill, passed last November, and swiftly shepherded it through final passage.
“For too long, the families of wounded warriors across America have paid the cost of war without sufficient support from the government [that] their loved ones risked all to serve. I look forward to President Obama signing this important bill for the families of disabled veterans, and for women veterans, veterans in rural areas, and those veterans sleeping on the streets tonight,” Akaka said.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the House committee, said caregivers of “heroes” who returned from Iraq or Afghanistan brain-damaged or with other severe wounds have had to quit their jobs, putting financial strain on families. As voluntary caregivers, they also have received little or no training in care delivery.
The new law, he said, will provide pay “to make up for loss of income; training to the caregiver; funds for respite care and some other expenses. It’s not just the young man or woman who comes home [who is changed]. It’s the whole family involved and we’ve got to help the whole family.