VA Caregiver Support: Caring for those Who Care?

As part of an initiative to show more support for caregivers, the VA has launched a new website:  VA Caregiver Support: Caring for those Who Care.  They have also established the VA’s toll-free Caregiver Support Line. 

The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 was set to begin Jan. 30, but the deadline came and went, and instead of new benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs launched just one part of the program: a caregivers’ support hotline.

New and Enhanced VA Benefits Provided to Caregivers of Veterans

Business Wire reports:  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is launching the first of a series of new and enhanced services supporting family caregivers of seriously ill and injured Veterans. In May 2010, President Obama signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 legislation authorizing VA to establish a wide range of new services to support certain caregivers of eligible Post 9/11 Veterans.

“Caregivers make tremendous sacrifices every day to help Veterans of all eras who served this nation,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “They are critical partners with VA in the recovery and comfort of ill and injured Veterans, and they deserve our continued training, support and gratitude.”

Caregivers of wounded troops still waiting for benefits signed into law by Obama

The Washington Post explains: 
The Department of Veterans Affairs has since missed the Jan. 31 deadline for fully implementing the program, leaving the families of wounded troops to wonder when the promised help will arrive.”

“While some services will be available right away, the others will take thoughtful, deliberate work to make sure the caregivers of our most vulnerable veterans have access to all additional services,” Roberts said.

Sen. Patty Murray, the Washington state Democrat who chairs the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, was one of 17 senators from both parties to sign a letter to the administration this month calling for an end to the delays. The demand came after VA missed a November deadline to update the committee on the legislation’s implementation.

After being briefed by VA officials last week, Murray issued a statement expressing concern that the draft eligibility criteria “would seriously limit the access to the benefit” from the 3,500 veterans originally projected to qualify.

Murray, Fellow Senators Call on VA to Stop Dragging its Feet in Getting Family Caregivers Critical Benefits

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, along with 17 Senators from both sides of the aisle, wrote to Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew, to urge the Administration to carry out the law and begin providing supportive services to caregivers of wounded veterans. The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Public Law 111-163, was enacted May 5, 2010 and directed VA to begin providing caregiver support by January 30, 2011. To date, the Obama Administration has failed to even set out its initial plan to carry out the law.

“Families of wounded warriors are waiting for these new caregivers’ benefits,” said Chairman Murray. “And with each day of delay the strain from the sacrifices they make only grows. Congress heard the concerns and problems of family caregivers and responded. This delay in putting the program in place is simply unacceptable. Responding to the needs of those injured while serving their country is a cost of war that must be paid.”

Read more:

Caregiver benefits proposal irks families of wounded troops

From Stars and Stripes

VA fumbles new caregiver program

From Politico

Bipartisan Congressional Veterans Leaders Urge President to Block VA’s Plan to Limit Support for Caregivers of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

From Wounded Warrior Project

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