Supporting Military and Veteran Caregivers

S.657 - Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2015

The USA all-volunteer military service is a tribute to the brave citizens who select national service as a career path.  In return for their service, the country’s promise is to provide post-service education and training back in civilian life.  USA Armed Forces Recruitment specialists guide each new recruit to craft a personalized service plan and post-service training.  Our new recruits enter the armed forces with high expectations around training, fitness, adventure, camaraderie and travel, and to come home with stories that will last a lifetime to share with family and friends.

No one.  No one expects to return home permanently injured facing a life so different from the one they left.  The reality is that though today, 6,855 have died since Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Today over 400,000 of our Armed Forces live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (#PTSD), the unseen often unrecognized internal injuries of battle.  Of those diagnosed with PSTD, 340,000 have Traumatic Brain Injuries that limit the mental, emotional and physical abilities of our returning soldiers.

Who cares for our wounded veterans?  Caregivers.  Family members that did not get the same sign-on promises of college tuition or a pension for their service.  Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) recalls her mother’s own struggle to raise her seven children while caring for her husband, a veteran of WWII.  Young enlisted service members today who are married are facing multiple deployments resulting in long separations from their spouses.   Military spouses and family members juggling their own work, family and financial demands are called into caregiving service when the unexpected combat injury occurs.  

Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) is sponsoring S.657 - Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2015 -  the  bill now in the hands of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Specifically, the bill offers more federal support and resources for comprehensive childcare services, flexible work arrangements for federal employees who are also caregivers as well as a monthly stipend, travel expense, access to insurance, mental health services, counseling and comprehensive caregiver training and respite care.  These modest but necessary measures should go a long way toward alleviating the burden on caregivers who are our heroes.

Call your Senators and House of Representatives demanding support for our Veteran Caregivers.