Clock Ticking for Veterans’ Caregivers Looking for Help

Many families have committed their own resources, quit jobs and moved across country to help care for their veterans injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So, last year, Congress passed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act to provide eligible families of the most severely wounded with benefits like respite care, counseling and a monthly stipend.

The Wounded Warriors Project campaigned for the Caregivers Act and has now made a “call to action” to get it implemented more quickly because families like the Bob and Michelle Briggs are waiting. 

Cong. Kathy Castor of Tampa distributes Girl Scout cookies to a wounded warrior during her recent visit to Landstudl Medical Center in Germany.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was supposed to have implanted the “Caregivers Act” by the end of January. But the VA is dragging its feet says Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

“There really is no excuse in my book for the Department of Veterans Affairs not to have followed through with support for wounded warrior families,” Castor said.

She added that of all the constituent services provided by her office, helping with veterans benefits is the hardest.

“Gen. (Eric) Shinseki is a dedicated department head,” Castor said. “But, boy it really wears on our veterans and they’re the last people who should be bogged down with paperwork.”

The original veterans caregiver act was signed by Pres. Barack Obama on May 5, 2010.

The VA called it a “complex process,” in a press release dated February 9, 2011, and stated that many of the “significant newly-enacted benefits will require the issuance of regulations” and that will require time and a period for public comment.

The Wounded Warrior Project website has a “countdown for caregivers clock” that shows it’s been more than 37 days since family caregivers of severely wounded war veterans were supposed to get some relief.

You can listen to the WUSF 89.7 story here.

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