DAV (Disabled American Veterans), the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) on 7 DEC 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. "Enacting this legislation would be life-changing for countless veterans and caregivers across the country, affording them the opportunity to remain in their homes and enabling them to have the best possible quality of life," said DAV Past National Commander and quadruple amputee Dave Riley, whose spouse Yvonne sacrificed her career to become his full-time caregiver. "We urge continued bipartisan support to get this bill passed, as it stands to vastly improve the lives of the nation’s veterans and America’s unsung heroes—their caregivers."
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.