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Hidden Heroes Response to VA Caregiver Program News

Hidden Heroes Response to VA Caregiver Program News

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation applauds Secretary Shulkin and the VA for its decision today to launch an internal review of the Caregiver Program, including evaluating the consistency of revocations from the program, standardizing communication with veterans and caregivers nationwide, and temporarily halting caregiver suspensions. This announcement shows that the many voices of military caregivers are being heard – when our country better understands their experiences and challenges, we, as a nation can better meet their urgent needs.

Following is a response to the VA’s announcement from Steve Schwab, Executive Director, The Elizabeth Dole Foundation:

“What the VA did in establishing the VA Caregiver Program has been truly groundbreaking. It was the first time the VA not only recognized, but prioritized through significant programming, the critical role military caregivers play in the ultimate well-being and health of our veterans. We are in a far different place as a nation, because of this focused effort. Many caregivers’ lives have been dramatically improved through this vital support and training, and thus, their veteran.

 But is there room for improvement? Yes. And today’s announcement is a great step forward. As far back as two years ago, we began to hear concerning stories of caregivers being unexpectedly dropped from the Caregiver Program. We started to collect these stories and mapped out the scope of the issue, helping connect caregivers to important resources to help them appeal these decisions. We also referred the most grievous cases to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for further review – cases that were re-evaluated seriously by VA leadership, and in many instances, overturned. We owe our work to the many caregivers who have stepped up and provided all of us the necessary insight and direction on the Caregiver Program. Their voices have guided the VA’s important decision today.

We also believe, this program alone can’t begin to meet the many critical needs of this population of military caregivers. That’s why our approach at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, through our Hidden Heroes initiative, is partnering with the VA and hundreds of other organizations to holistically approach this important challenge, and better serve our military caregivers and veterans.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is a trusted source to help navigate the challenges military caregivers encounter, and secure the support and connection they need and deserve. We promise to keep you informed as we learn more from our partners at the VA. In the meantime, reach out with your comments.”

For questions, and to learn more about the VA Caregiver Support Program, visit the Caregiver Website  or call the Caregiver Support Line at 855-260-3274.

To join the Hidden Heroes Community, visit HiddenHeroes.org.