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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 30, 2017 02:56 PM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Urging Congress to Expand Access to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support Program to all Service-Era Veterans
In the near future I plan to introduce a resolution expressing support of efforts to provide all veterans with access to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support program. There are nearly 850,000 veteran citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that have served in our United States Armed Forces, including nearly 615,000 veterans who served prior to September 11, 2001. Our veteran population deserves the best available care and resources, including the ability to receive that care at home from a loved one with the appropriate training to assist them with their personal care needs and instrumental activities of daily living.

On May 5, 2010, the United States made the needed investment and support for the family caregivers of the post-9/11 veterans by creating the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support program. The program provides critical support services and benefits that have a positive impact on a caregiver’s ability to care for a veteran. However, the law excludes pre-9/11 veterans from participating in the program. According to the RAND Corporation, of the 5.5 million military caregivers in the United States, only 19.6 percent are post-9/11 veterans leaving a large population of veterans, military families, and caregivers without assistance. An expansion of the Caregiver Support program would create an equitable system and equitable access to all service-era veterans.

Legislation introduced in Congress would expand access to veterans seeking caregivers by; creating a wider range of injuries and illnesses, which may require caregiving; place a greater emphasis on mental health injuries and traumatic brain injuries; as well as removing restrictions on who can become a caregiver. It would expand services that would benefit caregivers, such as a monthly stipend; child care eligibility; as well as financial advice and legal counseling. My resolution endorses the efforts being made in Congress to responsibly grant access to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support program to all service-era veterans, starting with those most in need.

If passed, my resolution will be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and to each member of Congress from Pennsylvania. I thank you in advance for supporting our veterans and this resolution.

Introduced as HR621