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Warner introduces bipartisan legislation to expand veteran caregiver services

mark warnerU.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) joined members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to introduce bipartisan legislation to expand a successful program that helps those who care for wounded, ill, or injured veterans. The Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act would open the program to veterans of all eras, making resources available to more of the family members and other loved ones who have taken on a caregiver role for veterans.

“They might not wear a uniform while they do it, but make no mistake – those who care for our veterans are providing an invaluable service to our country.  Military caregivers carry a unique burden by caring for loved ones who come home bearing the physical and emotional scars of war,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation recognizes their contributions and provides caregivers with additional resources to help them care for our nation’s veterans.”

A RAND study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, titled “Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers,” demonstrated that caregivers, often a spouse, parent, child, or even a close friend, sacrifice their own physical, emotional, and financial well-being in order to provide care to servicemembers and veterans that improves quality of life and can result in faster and improved rehabilitation and recovery. The legislation being reintroduced recognizes that sacrifice and offers support services.

Among other things, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act would:

  • Make veterans of all eras eligible for caregiver support services. Currently, only post-9/11 veterans are eligible.
  • Make the program more inclusive of mental health injuries.
  • Reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Act and expand essential respite options for caregivers.
  • Give veterans the opportunity to transfer GI Bill benefits to a dependent, to help unemployed or underemployed spouses of injured veterans prepare to become the primary income for the family.
  • Make caregivers who work in the federal government eligible for flexible work schedules.
  • Provide assistance with childcare, financial advice and legal counseling, which are all top, and currently unmet, needs.

See a one-pager on the bill here.

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