As the country prepares to commemorate Veterans Day on Saturday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, and am ember of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is co-sponsoring the bipartisan Military and Veterans Caregiver Services Improvement Act to provide support and resources to the millions of caregivers nationwide who provide care for wounded, ill and injured veterans. The bill would help expand a successful program that helps caregivers of veterans by ensuring the program is accessible to veterans of all eras, and making resources available to more of the family members and other loved ones who have taken on a caregiver role for veterans. Virginia is home to nearly 800,000 veterans.
“I’m proud to support legislation to make sure caregivers for veterans – often their spouse, child or another loved one – can access the resources they need,” Senator Kaine said. “This legislation honors the service of our veterans of all eras and recognizes the incredible dedication of the people who care for them.”
A RAND study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, title “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 service members and veterans that improves quality of life and can result in faster and improved rehabilitation and recovery.
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 under employed 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.