U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown on Wednesday highlighted bipartisan legislation to expand support for veterans’ caregivers.
Brown’s bill, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act, would make resources available to eligible family members or loved ones who care for veterans, including child care, financial assistance, and legal counseling.
The bill would also give veterans who participate in the program the opportunity to transfer GI benefits to a dependent who acts as a caregiver.
Post-9/11 veterans and their caregivers are already eligible for this support. Brown’s bill would expand the program to cover veterans and caregivers from all eras.
“Whether they served in recent conflicts or sacrificed for us in earlier eras, all of our veterans and the loved ones who care for them deserve our support,” said Brown. “The bill would make caregivers for all veterans, regardless of when they served, eligible for support services. These men and women may not wear a uniform, but they sacrifice for our nation all the same.”
Specifically, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act would:·
Extend eligibility for caregiver support services to veterans of all eras, allow veterans the opportunity to transfer GI Bill benefits to a dependent, include a broader range of injuries eligible for the caregiver program including a greater emphasis on mental health injuries, expand child care and respite services and provide stipends to offset costs associated with child care, financial advice, and legal counseling, and coordinate caregiver policies and services among VA departments.
During his weekly news conference call, Brown was joined by Dannielle Sedam, a Wilmington resident who helps care for her father, a Vietnam veteran. Ms. Sedam wrote to Brown’s office in support of extending the caregiver program to veterans of all eras.
“Allowing all veterans and their families to be a part of the caregiver program will give families like mine the opportunity to show how much we care and give us a chance to give them back something when they gave so much,” said Sedam.
Currently, post-9/11 veterans who have sustained a serious mental or physical injury and require assistance carrying out daily living activities are eligible for the VA caregiver program. Brown’s bill would phase in new veterans to the caregiver program based on need to maintain quality service for veterans and their caregivers.