Congressman Raul Ruiz introduced H.R. 1618, the Support Our Services (SOS) to Veterans’ Caregivers Act. The bill would amend the law to allow VA to assist caregivers who are supporting the needs of veterans with serious illnesses related to military service. Such illnesses of veterans might include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), cancer or other devastating illnesses that can leave veterans completely dependent upon others for help.
Caregiver assistance has been critical for supporting family members of post 9/11 veterans who have turned their lives upside down to address the often constant care demands of gravely injured veterans. Under the current program, caregivers are provided assistance with training and technical support to manage their loved ones’ care needs. Even more importantly, VA is authorized to provide health care coverage and counseling for the caregiver, at least 30 days of respite care, and a small stipend for the caregiver so they are not impoverished by the commitment they have made to meet their loved ones’ needs.
Ruiz views his legislation as a correction for an unintentional oversight that has left the needs of thousands of caregivers assisting veterans with serious illness, rather than injury, unaddressed. It would also require VA conduct an annual multidimensional assessment to measure the impact of caregiving on the overall health and wellness of caregivers.
DAV Resolution No. 131 supports comprehensive assistance for caregivers of veterans with wounds, injuries or illness from all eras of service.
Please write your Representative asking him or her to cosponsor and support the final passage of H.R. 1618. Thank you for your participation in the Commander’s Action Network.
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