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Apr 20, 2022

Tester, Moran Urge Transparency and Timely Action on VA Caregivers Program

Senators to VA Secretary McDonough: “we urge VA to clarify the terms and timeline of the suspension and the status of current applicants and participants in the Program as soon as possible.”

To better support veterans and caregivers nationwide, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are urging Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough to provide updated guidance on its recent changes to the Caregivers Program.

“We write in support of the recent announcement by the VA to suspend discharges from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (Caregiver Program) and to urge an expeditious and collaborative initiation of program reforms,” the Senators wrote to VA Secretary McDonough. “However, we urge VA to clarify the terms and timeline of the suspension and the status of current applicants and participants in the Program as soon as possible. Many veterans and their caregivers rely on the support this Program provides and must be able to plan for the future.”

In the letter, the Senators highlighted various areas of the Caregivers Program in need of review and reform by VA. This includes improving the application and appeals processes, reforming the invasive assessment process, ensuring a warm hand-off to other VA services and support for those veterans and caregivers denied or deemed ineligible, and providing an easier pathway to advocacy for Veterans Service Organizations and other representatives assisting veterans in navigating the Program.

They continued, “Finally, we urge the Administration to be transparent and clear on next steps as it begins needed reform of the Program. Some veterans and caregivers have now received conflicting information from VA—a notice of potential removal from the Program and now news of a pause on that removal. We recommend you work to mitigate any confusion affected individuals may have given the importance of this Program in their lives and offer mental health services to veterans and caregivers who are in limbo and may be dealing with greater stress than usual.”

At a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing last month, the Senators pressed Department officials on a number of changes to the Caregivers Program, including immediately halting the discharge of legacy participants and starting a new process to revise eligibility requirements to ensure the Program is meeting the intent of Congress. The Committee also heard moving testimony from caregivers about their personal struggles with the Program.

Read the Senators’ full letter HERE.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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