Shaheen Joins Bipartisan Push to Expand Veteran Caregiver Services to Veterans of All Eras
**Bipartisan legislation provides support and resources to the millions of caregivers nationwide who provide care for wounded, ill, and injured veterans**
**Legislation honors the sacrifice of our nation’s caregivers while giving veterans greater flexibility in choosing their care**
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to reintroduce 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. A companion bill was also introduced in the House. 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.
"Our men and women in uniform serve our country when we need them, and we must provide them with the care and support they need when they get home," said Senator Shaheen. “This legislation is an important step in ensuring that all veterans and their caregivers can access this important program. Regardless of era, veterans have provided the same service to our country and they must have access to the same benefits.”
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
Cosponsoring the bill are Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), 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), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
See a one-pager on the bill here.