The Family Caregiver Program Act of 2009 was introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii on April 2, 2009, and has been placed on the U.S. Senate calendar for discussion on September 27, 2009.
What caregiving benefits does the bill include?
- Creates a family caregiver program for designated family members to be certified as a personal care attendant
- Provides monetary stipends for the caregiver
- Provides education, training, certification for the caregiver, as needed, to provide the necessary level of care
- Provides health services and mental health services to the caregiver
- Provides a respite caregiver while the family caregiver is undergoing caregiver training
The bill would provide for a program to support and pay for the home caregiving services to qualifying veterans. Many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered multiple injuries and will require ongoing assistance with their daily living. These veterans prefer to stay in their home, according to surveys conducted by the Wounded Warrior Project, especially since many of these veterans have young children who are still living at home. The Veteran's Administration does currently provide care in a nursing home which can cost as much as $80,000 per year. This bill would assist veterans who need ongoing caregiving services, if they have suffered a serious injury after September 11, 2001, to receive the care in their home and allow their caregiver to receive the necessary training and benefits.
What should you know about this bill?
The Veteran Administration opposes it. They feel that the bill would divert resources from medical care for veterans to medical care for the family caregiver and sets up an entitlement program for just one group of veterans and is not available to all veterans. You can find information about senior care services in your state and contact your local senator or congressman to express your concerns or views or support for this bill.