U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Committee Chairman Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced the Family Caregiver Program Act of 2009. The legislation will strengthen support for family caregivers of veterans and will give veterans the option to choose receipt of care from their spouse or other family member at home.
This bill will hopefully establish new assistance for caregivers that has not been previously available. This includes ongoing support services through technical support, counseling and mental health services, medical care, respite care, and a monthly personal allowance for the caregiver.
“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.”
“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.
The idea for this legislation stemmed from a critical recommendation from the Dole-Shalala Commission. The Commission examined the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense’s provision of services to veterans who require long-term personal care, and to the families who serve as caregivers. The consensus of the Commission was that these family members should be offered appropriate training and counseling to support them in their caregiver roles.
For detailed information on the Family Caregiver Program Act of 2009, please visit http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-801.