Costello bill would expand caregiver support program to veterans of all eras
Bipartisan legislation introduced on Monday by U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) would extend a veteran caregiver benefits program to those who help care for veterans of all service eras in an effort to help those most in need.
The Care for all Veterans Act would expand the Program of Comprehensive Assistance to Family Caregivers, which is currently available only to veterans injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
“No matter the service era, every veteran in Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district made great sacrifices and deserves access to the care they need,” Costello said. “Caregivers, who play a critical role in caring for veterans through in-home care services, should be able to rely on the assistance provided through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Caregiver program. This common sense legislation would increase access to the Caregivers program and help to ensure our veterans are receiving the care they deserve.”
The Program of Comprehensive Assistance to Family Caregivers provides a monthly stipend, travel expenses, access to health insurance, mental health services and counseling, caregiver training, and respite care to caregivers older than 18 who are with a veteran full time.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), who cosponsored the bill with Costello, said the program currently supports approximately 20 percent of veterans and military families.
“Connecticut is filled with veterans and family caregivers of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other eras,” Esty said. “Many of them aren’t getting the support they need and have talked with me about what a difference it would make to participate in the family caregivers program.”
Disabled American Veterans National Commander Dave Riley, said, “Family caregivers are critical members of a veteran’s health care team, and only with their help are many seriously injured or ill veterans able to reintegrate into their communities, remain out of costly institutions and achieve their highest levels of recovery and quality of life.”