Congressman Kim Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Protect VA Caregiver Benefits
(the Caregiver Program) from being discharged or having their support reduced because they do not meet the Veterans Administration (VA)’s new eligibility criteria.
“There’s nothing more important than honoring the promises we’ve made to our nation’s veterans. I saw their sacrifices firsthand when I worked as a civilian advisor in warzones overseas. So when my office heard from constituent caregivers that the benefits they’ve been using to help care for loved ones that proudly wore the uniform could be taken away, I knew we had to act,” said Congressman Kim. “That’s why I’m proud to join with Congressman Hudson to author a policy that protects veteran caregiver benefits and upholds the promise we made to our veterans and their families when they signed up to serve.”
The VA Caregiver Continuity Act would require the VA to permanently extend existing benefits for veterans who were enrolled in the Caregiver Program before September 2020 and who meet the VA’s Priority One Group criteria. Those who meet the VA’s Priority One Group criteria include veterans who (1) have a service-connected disability rating as 50% or more, (2) have a service-connected disability that the VA has concluded makes them unable to work, or (3) received the Medal of Honor.
This legislation would also require the VA to conduct outreach to veterans and caregivers already in the program who have received a notice that they would be reassessed, discharged, or have their benefits reduced as a result of the rule and inform them that they would remain in the program with their current benefits maintained.
A fact sheet on the bill can be found here.
“Fulfilling the promises made to our veterans from Fort Bragg and around the country is a top priority,” said Congressman Hudson. “That’s why I was proud to help pass the VA MISSION Act and expand the VA Caregiver Program to even more well-deserved veterans. I now look forward to advancing the bipartisan Veteran Caregiver Continuity Act to ensure veterans and caregivers who presently rely on the Caregiver Program will not lose their hard-earned benefits.”
“I am the primary caregiver for my husband who served in the Gulf War from 1990 to 1993,” said Debbie Ortiz of Bordentown, New Jersey. “He now relies on medical care from the VA for a myriad of medical problems. I am grateful to Congressman Kim for introducing this bill so that I and so many other caregivers do not have to fear that his benefits are being taken away from us. This is not something that families and those that serve our nation should experience. Caregiving is a difficult job, I am hoping the VA continues to honor their caregiver promise not to reduce it.”
The VA Caregiver Continuity Act is endorsed by New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars (NJ VFW), New Jersey American Legion, and The Independence Fund.
A letter of support from the NJ VFW can be found here.
A letter of support from the NJ American Legion can be found here.
“The Independence Fund applauds Congressmen Kim and Hudson for introducing the VA Caregiver Continuity Act,” said Sarah Verardo, CEO, The Independence Fund. “This legislation ensures our nation’s most at risk catastrophically disabled Veterans will retain critical Caregiver services. These Veterans deserve to live with dignity and providing them with the care they earned through their service is the right thing to do.”
Congressman Kim has previously voted for theSergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Actto ensure all veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during their service have access to the care and benefits they need and deserve. Congressman Kim has worked on behalf of veterans since his first day in office, including doubling America’s investment in veteran suicide preventionoutreach programs, delivering a new, state-of-the-art VA health clinic to Toms River, honoring Gold Star families, securing $621 million for veteran opioid abuse prevention, held a roundtable with veterans and servicemembers on suicide prevention, and recently received the New Jersey VFW’s Legislator of the Year award.
Congressman Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Committee on Small Business. More information about Congressman Kim can be found on his website by clicking here.