Martin C. Evans

Vet groups pressing Congress for caregiver assistance

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2009 at 9:22 am

A double amputee on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol

Veterans groups are urging Congress to agree on legislation that would help family caregivers provide for severely disabled veterans at home.

The House and Senate each have passed a version of caregiver legislation, but differences between the two versions must be ironed out before Congress can give final passage.

There is bipartisan support for  a key element of the legislation – a provision that would provide training for caregivers on how to care for bedridden veterans. That would allow more injured veterans to remain at home, rather than in an institution.

The Senate version would provide assistance to caregivers of soldiers injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. The House version, which is supported by the veterans groups, would assist the caregivers of all veterans.

Supporters of the legislation say the large numbers of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries, amputations, severed spinal cords and other debilitating conditions burdens families who try to care for their loved ones at home.

Nineteen groups sent a letter urging Congressional action on the legislation, include Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Brain Injury Association of America, and the Disabled American Veterans.

Vet caregivers might look for help at Agis or by clicking through the boring but useful Military OneSource website.

Also this week, Congress set aside $48.2 billion in advance funding for veterans health care programs for 2011. The set-aside was implemented to prevent disruptions to veterans care should Congress not pass the fiscal 2011 budget on time.

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