Congressman Raul Ruiz introduced H.R. 4451, the Support Our Services to Veterans’ Caregivers Act. The bill would amend the law to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (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 due to toxic and environmental exposures in the military that can leave veterans completely dependent upon others for help.
Under the VA’s current program, caregivers of seriously injured veterans 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.
This bill will correct the exclusion of providing needed benefits to thousands of caregivers assisting veterans with serious illness, rather than injury. It would also require VA to conduct an annual multidimensional assessment to measure the impact of caregiving on the overall health and wellness of caregivers.
DAV Resolution No. 018 calls for 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 enactment of H.R. 4451. Thank you for your participation in the Commander’s Action Network.