Bipartisan legislation provides support and resources to the millions of caregivers nationwide who provide care for wounded, ill, and injured veterans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) in reintroducing bipartisan legislation in both the Senate and the House 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.
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 today recognizes that sacrifice and offers support services.
“Military caregivers provide needed care to their loved ones, serving veterans who have bravely served our nation. Many caregivers are also struggling to juggle their own work schedules, other personal obligations, and financial needs. It’s important that we step up and provide them support,” said Senator Baldwin. “This bipartisan legislation would help make resources available to all military caregivers, regardless of what era their veteran served in. This about shared responsibility and keeping our promise to support our veterans and their families.”
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.
Additional cosponsors the bill include Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL ), Al Franken (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mark Warner (D-VA).
Cosponsoring the bill in the House are Representatives Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Michelle Lujan Grisham(D-NM), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Darren Soto (D-FL), Mark Takano (D-CA), Timothy Walz (D-MN) and Don Young (R-AK).
An online version of this release is available here.