Did you know there are roughly 5.5 million unpaid military and Veteran caregivers in the United States? These extraordinary individuals provide assistance with daily living and/or medical tasks to those injured due to military service, including aging parents and grandparents, other family members, friends, and children with special needs.

While offering unpaid care is often regarded as a great responsibility (and one that caregivers view as part of their overall duties as a spouse, parent, or child), post-9/11 military and Veteran caregivers are also more likely to fare worse in health outcomes as a result of not being connected to a support network.

Blue Star Families advocates for legislation that would offer military and Veteran caregivers the support and resources they need to thrive.

Policy Recommendations

  • Enact paid family leave policies for situations involving: (a) qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member being on active duty in a foreign country (or being notified of an impending call/order of active service in a foreign country); (b) caring for a family member who is a covered service member; and (c) caring for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Create an office within the VA focused on the needs of military caregivers – to ensure that caregiver voices are represented in the policymaking process
  • Formally designate caregivers in patient medical records, so they can be consistently included in medical planning discussions
  • Ensure that caregivers can receive respite care
  • Strengthen and expand eligibility for the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) to all severely disabled Veterans, and improve consistency and accountability in the administration and execution of PCAFC
  • Increase military caregiver employment by incentivizing private sector employers to initiate flexible work programs for military caregivers