VSOs Deliver Petition Urging Expanded Caregiver Benefits

VFW joins in delivering 182K-signature petition to Congress urging the passage of a bill that will expand caregiver benefits to severely disabled veterans of all generations
WASHINGTON – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), DAV (Disabled American Veterans), the American Legion and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) today delivered a petition with more than 182,000 signatures calling upon Congress to expand the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) comprehensive caregiver assistance benefits to disabled veterans of all eras. They were joined by Senate and House members also calling on their colleagues to pass caregiver extension legislation.

The bipartisan “Caring for our Veterans Act of 2017,” passed by the Senate VA Committee last week, includes a critical provision modeled after a bill authored by Senator Patty Murray that would extend comprehensive VA caregiver benefits to veterans severely injured during and prior to the Vietnam War. Following a two-year period, the program would expand to include veterans of all eras.

The bill now awaits passage in the full Senate and would then require passage in the House.

“Caregivers of military veterans, the overwhelming majority of whom are family members, put their lives and careers on hold, often accepting great emotional and financial burdens to ensure their veterans have a meaningful quality of life and stay in their homes instead of having to receive institutional nursing home care,” said Bob Wallace, VFW’s Assistant Adjutant General and Executive Director, Washington Office. “The family caregivers of post-9/11 veterans are eligible for comprehensive support to include a living stipend to alleviate the financial burden of being a full-time caregiver. Unfortunately, veterans of previous eras are unjustifiably denied eligibility simply based on the era in which they served. It’s past time Congress end this inequity and expand comprehensive caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras.”

Under current law, only veterans injured after September 11, 2001, are eligible for comprehensive caregiver benefits and supports through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and expansion would benefit hundreds of thousands of dedicated caregivers, many of whom have performed their role without support for decades.

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