Last year passed without significant congressional action on any major veterans’ issues. In 2014, that may change.
Fiscal fights in Congress were a recurring scene in 2013. By the end of the year, concerns over our nation’s debt extended to program costs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In December, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) attempted to move a large veterans’ benefits bill; however, it was blocked by a Senate colleague who had concerns about the cost of the legislation.
Chairman Sanders is now intent on moving a comprehensive package of benefits through the Senate in the coming weeks. The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 (S. 1950) contains many key provisions that would provide needed benefits and supports for veterans living with disabilities.
One of this legislation’s provisions would expand eligibility for VA’s enhanced caregiver program. The legislation would make the caregivers of certain veterans who were injured before September 11, 2001, eligible for a monthly stipend and health care. Many family members have sacrificed for decades to provide that care. This change would ensure caregivers have the supports that recognize their sacrifice and allow them to continue to provide the care that helps disabled veterans live independent lives.
VetsFirst wrote a letter to Chairman Sanders in support of this robust legislation. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure its passage.