Tester, Murray Push to Strengthen Support Services for Veterans’ Caregivers

After Report Claims VA is Dropping Caregivers, Senators Demand Answers

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are demanding stronger support services for caregivers of disabled or injured veterans.

Following a recent report that finds the VA is dropping veterans’ caregivers from the Caregiver Support Program, Tester and Murray are calling on VA Secretary David Shulkin to investigate why some VA hospitals across the country are removing caregivers from a support program that is critical for veterans and their families.

“The Caregiver Support Program is indispensable in giving caregivers the tools they need to care for their veterans, and keeping those veterans at home and out of institutions,” the Senators wrote to Shulkin. “It’s inappropriate and unacceptable to remove veterans’ caregivers from the program. It’s imperative that you address discrepancies in program eligibility and benefits across multiple states.”

According to NPR, caregivers across the nation, including in Montana and Washington, are reportedly being kicked out of the Caregiver Support Program, which provides essential support services to those who care for disabled or injured veterans. Many caregivers are not given a cause for their removal and aren’t notified until they attempt to access benefits through the program.

Tester and Murray wrote to urge Secretary Shulkin to clarify why caregivers have been removed from the program and to make sure that the Caregiver Support Program is administered consistently across the nation.

While VA provides essential health care services to disabled and injured veterans, day-to-day care often falls on family caregivers. VA provides training, health care, and other services to caregivers who often put their own lives on hold to care for their loved ones.

Tester and Murray are also fighting to expand caregiver services to veterans of all eras. Currently, only caregivers to veterans who served after September 11, 2001 are eligible for the full range of support services.

The Senators’ letter can be viewed online HERE.