WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, introduced legislation today to create a permanent program to increase support for veterans' family caregivers. The bill is cosponsored by Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), former Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), and Committee member Roland Burris (D-IL).
"VA's motto is to ‘care for him who shall have borne the battle.' In many cases, that care is already being provided to wounded and ailing veterans at home by their families. VA must recognize and support these family caregivers for what they are: partners in a shared mission," said Akaka.
"Family caregivers play an important and unique role in helping to meet veterans' personal care needs, both physically and emotionally," Burr said. "Too often, family members who serve as primary caregivers face significant challenges in caring for their loved ones. It is my hope that this legislation will alleviate the burdens family caregivers face in caring for veterans in North Carolina and across our nation."
The Family Caregiver Program Act would provide the following to family and loved ones caring for veterans at home:
This bill builds on previous legislation through which Chairman Akaka has expanded support for family caregivers. Akaka championed the veteran caregiver pilot program in legislation enacted as Public Law 109-461, the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006, and authored sweeping veterans' mental health legislation that was enacted as Public Law 110-387, which improved veterans' mental health care and extended VA authority to provide institutional and non-institutional long-term care and caregiver assistance services.
April 2, 2009