When Will Wounded Vets’ Caregivers Get Help VA and Congress Have Promised?
Even though Congress has passed a law requiring the Department of Veterans' Affairs to provide financial help for families and relatives who're caring for wounded military men and women, the VA still hasn't provided the help, and can't say when it it will be able to.
President Barack Obama signed the Caregivers Act in May of last year, and it calls for the VA to support non-veterans directly for the first time, meaning services and funds will go straight to the caregiver.
Nine months later, the program has not been established and at the moment the assistance is nowhere in sight. VA officials say this is a completely new program, and the agency has been forced to create and implement entirely new business practices.
They say that just takes more time than they were given, and it would have been an insurmountable challenge to have all aspects of the law in force by the January 2011 deadline called for in the law.
VA now hopes to have the program up and running by summer.
Veterans groups and caregivers also worry that VA will limit eligibility to fewer caregivers than Congress intended. VA recently estimated only 850 caregivers will qualify. The Congressional Budget Office had estimated at least 3500 family caregivers would qualify.