Caregiving

There are roughly 5.5 million unpaid military or veteran caregivers in the United States who provide assistance to others with daily living and/or medical tasks.

While providing unpaid care is often regarded as a great responsibility (and one that caregivers are extremely proud of doing), 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 supports legislation that would provide military caregivers with the support and resources they need to thrive.

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 that 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 the PCAFC
  • Increase military caregiver employment by incentivizing private sector employers to initiate flexible work programs for military caregivers