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senate Bill S. 2216

Should Administration of the VA’s Family Caregivers Program be Improved to Ensure Better Support for Service-Disabled Veterans & Their Caregivers?

Argument in favor

This bill codifies important existing practices at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) providing support and resources to help caregivers take care of veterans with service-related injuries. While the VA is already generally acting in accordance with this bill’s provisions, codifying them into law will give veterans and their caregivers an important degree of certainty about continued support from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. This is especially important in light of reports that veterans and their caregivers have been arbitrarily discharged or downgraded from the program in the past.

jimK's Opinion
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12/17/2020
Anti Doomsday Clock: << 34 days, 12 hours, 43 minutes >> Yes. Our vets who were disabled as part of their service while honoring their duty to serve us and our country should have their country, us honor our duty to properly care for them for their service. Codifying the support that our country needs provide our service-disabled vets prevents the VA from diverting funds to other programs without congressional involvement.
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Andy's Opinion
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12/17/2020
The vote on this was 380 yes; 0 no; and to the seditionist traitor and trumpublican Rep. Kevin Brady - ‘Not Voting’🖕👎. What, nothing in this for you? To busy to do your job? You back here at home instead of being in DC for work? Hell you don’t care about masks anyway, so do your F’ing job. I want my money back!
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Argument opposed

As the VA is already generally acting in accordance with this legislation’s provisions, there’s no need to waste Congress’ time on this bill when it has bigger issues, such as COVID-19 relief, to tackle before the end of the year. Additionally, to the extent that this legislation is meant to improve the Family Caregiver Program and ensure that eligible veterans and their caregivers are well-served by the program, it also fails in this goal because it does not include most of the VA Office of Inspector General’s recommendations from an April 2018 report detailing problems with the Family Caregiver Program.

Larry's Opinion
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12/17/2020
Let's let veterans use the same health care system the rest of use. Remember, separate but equal doesn't cut it.
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Gregg 's Opinion
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12/17/2020
Good idea but to many loopholes for fraud and money going to those that do not need it.
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What is Senate Bill S. 2216?

This bill, known as the TEAM Veteran Caregivers Act, would provide training, counseling, mental health services, respite care, and monthly stipends to veterans’ caregivers under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers and those participating in the Program of General Caregiver Support Services. Veterans and their caregivers are eligible for the program if the veteran requires assistance in daily living activities (e.g., bathing, eating, or grooming) due to service-related injuries. 

Additionally, this legislation would require the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to temporarily extend this program’s benefits for 90 days to veterans who become ineligible because they no longer require a caregiver.

Caregivers would be identified in each veteran’s electronic health record at the VA. The VA would be required to use standardized letters to inform veterans, their caregivers, and applicants for the program about decisions affecting the provision of assistance under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. These letters would be subject to a minimum standard of information when they are notifying caregivers and veterans of downgrades.

Impact

Veterans with service-related injuries; caregivers of veterans with service-related injuries; the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA); Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers; and Program of General Caregiver Support Services.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2216

$0.00
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that it would cost less than $500,00 to implement this legislation.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced this legislation to improve the Dept. of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) caregiver program, ensure that caregivers and veterans have the opportunity to appeal any downgrade or termination of benefits, and recognize caregivers’ role as part of veterans’ clinical teams:

“Veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for our country, and we must ensure they have the quality care and support they deserve. Caregivers often provide home health care for severely injured veterans every day, and issues with the VA’s program must be addressed so that caregivers can be involved in important decisions impacting the well-being and health of these veterans. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to ensure caregivers are treated fairly and make sure the VA is held accountable.”

After this bill’s Senate passage on November 18, 2020, Sen. Peters said:

“Veterans and their families have given so much for our country, and we must make sure they have the quality care and support they deserve. Caregivers are on the frontline of home health care every day for our veterans and there’s no question we can take steps to improve the VA Caregiver Program. This bipartisan bill would help address problems with the VA Caregiver Program by making sure caregivers are treated fairly and that our severely injured veterans receive the services they have rightfully earned. Now that my bipartisan legislation passed the Senate, I look forward to ensuring it is enacted into law.”

Lead Republican cosponsor Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) added:

“Strong communication between our veterans’ caregivers and their providers should be complemented by thorough information in their medical records that reflects caregiver participation. The Department of Veterans Affairs exists to serve those who served our country. It is vitally important we give it the much-needed tools to be successful in that aim.”

Joy Ilem, National Legislative Director at Disabled American Veterans, expressed her organization’s support for this legislation:

“In far too many instances, policies and procedures of the VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers has resulted in the untimely disruption or termination of needed benefits for our nation’s veterans and their caregivers. DAV has long advocated for improvements to this program, and is proud to support the TEAM Veteran Caregivers Act in order to provide clear standards of communicating VA’s decisions, provide smoother transitions along the program’s continuum of care for beneficiaries, and fully incorporate family caregivers within the veteran’s care team. We are grateful to the bill’s cosponsors for their commitment to disabled veterans and to the nation’s unsung heroes, their family caregivers.” 

This legislation unanimously passed the Senate with the support of 18 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including 10 Democrats and eight Republicans. Its House companion, sponsored by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), has 12 bipartisan House cosponsors (eight Republicans and four Democrats) and has not yet received a committee vote.

This legislation is endorsed by a number of veterans’ advocacy organizations, including Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America.


Of NoteThe VA provides stipends and support to caregivers of wounded veterans who sustained or aggravated serious injuries in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001. Caregivers can include family members of other members of a veteran’s support group that regularly helps them recover from their injuries.

Currently, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides caregiver benefits for 90 days after a veteran is discharged from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers due to becoming ineligible, dying, or being permanently institutionalized. As a result of this existing practice, this legislation would generally codify the VA’s existing practice.

In April 2017, the VA Secretary ordered an internal review after Congress and the media reported that veterans and their caregivers were being inappropriately discharged from the Family Caregiver Program. In 2018, the VA Office of the Inspector General released a report in which it found that the VA had indeed failed to adequately manage the program, and that better communication and improved discharge processes were needed.

In light of the problems it identified, the VA OIG recommended the establishment of politics and procedures to improve the operation of the Family Caregiver Program. Among the OIG’s recommendations were: 

  • Establishing a governance environment for the program;
  • Ensuring that all veteran eligibility determinations are accurate;
  • Establishing the need for care assessment guidelines;
  • Designating program leads at the Veterans Integrated Service Network level, and
  • Assessing current program staffing levels.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / pixelseffect)

AKA

TEAM Veteran Caregivers Act

Official Title

A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to formally recognize caregivers of veterans, notify veterans and caregivers of clinical determinations relating to eligibility for caregiver programs, and temporarily extend benefits for veterans who are determined ineligible for the family caregiver program, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house Passed December 16th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 380 Yea / 0 Nay
  • The senate Passed November 17th, 2020
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans&#39; Affairs
    IntroducedJuly 23rd, 2019

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    Anti Doomsday Clock: << 34 days, 12 hours, 43 minutes >> Yes. Our vets who were disabled as part of their service while honoring their duty to serve us and our country should have their country, us honor our duty to properly care for them for their service. Codifying the support that our country needs provide our service-disabled vets prevents the VA from diverting funds to other programs without congressional involvement.
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    They need to restore the previous benefits. My niece was a caregiver to her wounded Vet husband but they removed all the benefits so now she has to work and has less time to care for him.
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    The vote on this was 380 yes; 0 no; and to the seditionist traitor and trumpublican Rep. Kevin Brady - ‘Not Voting’🖕👎. What, nothing in this for you? To busy to do your job? You back here at home instead of being in DC for work? Hell you don’t care about masks anyway, so do your F’ing job. I want my money back!
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    Dear Representatives and Senators, Thank you for passing the bill to improve the VA Family Caregivers Program. Let's hope someone can tear Trump’s thumbs away from his phone, wipe his tears away, get him to blow his big orange painted nose, and calm him down from his insecure childish rage at being a one-term big loser to sign it. Remind the wounded draft dodger that his favorability ratings never reached 50% in four years. Also, remind the Celebrity Apprentice that the Bitchy, the Whiny, and the show's mean Villain never win. Even he would cancel the show. BTW - Trump's average favorability rating was 43.5%, so, yes, he did beat the odds at the polls. There’s that for some truth. Some people do like mean, whiny dumpy villains, but more people love the kind, handsome, if not hunky hero. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/ Biden: 81,283,098 Votes 51.3% of the Total Vote 306 Electoral Votes Trump: 74,222,957 Votes 46.8% of the Total Vote 232 Electoral Votes Biden trounced Trump by over 7 million votes: 7,060,141 Based on data provided by CNN On 12/16/2020. https://www.cnn.com/election/2020/results/president [Edited.]
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    Time to take care of our vets in any way possible.
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    Thanks for voting for the men & women who through their sacrifice preserve our way of living.
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    We owe them all we can give them. They gave their all in defense of our freedom in USA.
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    Of course they should! The funding for caregivers was cruelly cut. This is where the government’s money should be going instead of into the back pockets of the politicians who give nothing for their country!
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    So glad to see this was voted on unanimously, there is common ground.
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    Yes, 100% Yes, This can take an enormous toll on the spouse or next of kin taking care of these veterans. Also some facilities do not live up to their agreements with the VA and veterans have to be moved. Yes Congress and Presidents agree to war, but never plan on the real costs of war. Not the equipment but the after effects an humanity. That can last 60 to 80 years. Most people have no concept of just how traumatic war can be, even if you are not in the field. A lot of people support our veterans but many are left out, through their fault or bureaucracy’s fault. It takes a toll on veterans and their care takers.
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    Not all veterans spouse’s are eligible, where I am 100% disabled veteran and I fall through the cracks in eligibility.
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    Why is this even an issue?! Ourr government and taxes should be used to aid in just this type of situation.
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    About time!
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    As a veteran of the Vietnam war, I saw first hand how our disabled veterans struggled with their recovery and the daily challenges faced by their caregivers in helping those disabled individuals. That generation of servicemen and women are now retired and many depend upon support from our VA to assist them in their waning years of life. We have had subsequent conflicts overseas that have left many more service members disabled and in need of long term treatment. It is imperative that the government provide the best care possible for these individuals and support for their caregivers. They sacrificed everything in service of our country. We need to support them and their caregivers to the fullest extent possible.
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    Yes
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    As a vet myself I have to support this, especially given everything that has happened under Trump. In the last four years Trump and others have done everything they could to gut government and divert the money to tax cuts for the wealthy and to the military industrial complex. This would insure that veterans are properly supported as they should be.
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    ABSOLUTELY! This is a no-brainer. As a disability individual myself, I know the difficulty that we encounter in a daily basis. I think people forget, we(disabled) have to LIVE WITH our CONDITIONS, F O R the rest of O U R L I V E S !! just please don't forget all that we deal with, especially the VA's, please?
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    As we have seen over the last 4 years, it is essential to codify everything lest it fall prey to the Executive power of a future miscreant.
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    Yes
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    Of all people the veterans should have the support of Congress to codify the benefits the so rightly deserve.
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