COSTELLO, ESTY INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO ENSURE VETERAN CAREGIVERS OF ALL SERVICE ERAS RECEIVE SUPPORT
Washington, D.C. – Reps. Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) today introduced legislation to expand the current VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to veterans of all service eras over the next six years. Under the CARE for All Veterans Act, the expansion process will begin with veterans who are most in need. The Program of Comprehensive Assistance to Family Caregivers is currently only available to veterans injured in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001. Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), Rep. Tim Ryan(D-OH), Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) are also original cosponsors of the legislation.
“No matter the service era, every veteran in Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District made great sacrifices and deserves access to the care they need,” said Rep. Costello. “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 commonsense legislation would increase access to the Caregivers program and help to ensure our veterans are receiving the care they deserve.”
“Right now, the program to assist family caregivers is only supporting about 20 percent of our veterans and military families,” said Rep. Esty. “Connecticut is filled with veterans and family caregivers of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and other eras. 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. Like their loved ones who wore the uniform, caregivers make huge sacrifices on behalf of our nation. Let’s pass this bipartisan bill and follow through on our commitment to support every veteran and caregiver who has served this country.”
"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,” said Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Commander Dave Riley. “DAV firmly believes that all disabled veterans have earned the same benefits, regardless of when they served. We applaud Representatives Esty and Representative Costello’s efforts to improve caregiver benefits and extend eligibility to all generations of veterans, as they are all equal in our eyes and equally deserving of this much-needed support.”
Services provided by the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers include a monthly stipend; travel expenses; access to health care insurance; mental heal services and counseling; comprehensive VA Caregiver Training provided by Easter Seals; and respite care.
A caregiver must be 18 years of age and can be a family member, a friend, or someone who lives with the veteran full time. Often the dedication and time to caring and supporting a veteran in their daily activities can take an emotional and physical toll on the caregiver and loved one, and these support services provide invaluable assistance.