The National Alliance for Caregiving applauds the President and Congress for new support for family caregivers through the bipartisan VA Mission Act of 2018 (H.R. 5674), signed into law (June 6, 2018). In addition to instituting a number of other reforms that will strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, this law will expand the VA Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program to Veterans injured in service prior to September 11, 2001.
The VA Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program offers support for caregivers of eligible Veterans, including access to health insurance, a financial stipend, caregiver training, mental health services, and respite care. Prior to the passage of the VA Mission Act, only post-9/11 Veterans were eligible to receive these benefits, excluding family caregivers of Veterans injured during World War II and the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars. The exclusion of pre-9/11 Veteran family caregivers from this program left a number of individuals without crucial support.
“The Alliance strongly supports the expansion of the VA Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program, as Congress now recognizes the value and needs of all Veteran family caregivers,” said Mike Wittke, Director of Advocacy at the National Alliance for Caregiving. “The passage of this bill, in addition to the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and the FY2018 Omnibus Federal Spending Package which provided new federal funding to support family caregivers, demonstrates that our governmental leaders are starting to recognize the critical role that family caregivers play in our society.”
In addition to the National Alliance for Caregiving, a number of other advocacy organizations fought for the expansion of the VA Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program, including the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Blue Star Families. Congressional champions included Senators Isakson, Tester, Murray and Collins, and Congressmen Roe and Langevin.
About the National Alliance for Caregiving
Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. The Alliance conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Recognizing that family caregivers provide important societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those they care for, the Alliance supports a network of more than 80 state and local caregiving coalitions and serves as Secretariat for the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO).