23 April 2010

Sweeping Veterans and Caregivers Legislation Passes Congress: Supported by VetsFirst

/PRNewswire/ -- VetsFirst, a national organization that serves veterans with disabilities, their families and survivors, applauds the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for passing the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 (S. 1963). The legislation's sweeping provisions include improvements in VA health care services for veterans, programs for women veterans, construction of new VA medical facilities and, for the first time, critical supports for family and other personal caregivers of veterans with disabilities.

"VetsFirst has strongly advocated for the passage of legislation that recognizes the sacrifice of family members who dedicate their lives to caring for those who have selflessly defended our freedom. We urge the President to quickly sign this bill into law," said VetsFirst's President and CEO Paul J. Tobin.

Under the legislation, family caregivers for eligible veterans of all eras can receive VA training, support services, counseling, mental health services and respite care. For family and non-family caregivers who live with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the legislation also provides a monthly stipend and access to their own VA health care.

"VetsFirst believes that providing these services to caregivers will ensure that veterans receive quality care and support in their homes and communities. Veterans have the right to receive such care in the least restrictive environment possible," Tobin stated.

"Many wounded warriors don't want to spend their lives in a hospital or nursing home. They would prefer to recover in the company and care of their loved ones. The new VA caregiver services and supports will ease the burden for family members, many of whom have forsaken their own jobs and health care coverage, to care for their veteran," Tobin added.

Although funding VA services for caregivers will require an upfront investment, the long-term gains that result from caring for veterans at home will improve their outlook, speed their recovery and allow them to more easily reintegrate into their community.

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