WASHINGTON, DC: This week, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02), Congressman Don Davis (NC-01), and Congressman Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Veterans Caregiver Application and Appeals Reform (CARE) Act of 2023. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the Senate version last month.
The bill would improve the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), also known as the Caregivers Program, by allowing Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and other accredited agents to advocate for disabled veterans and by requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to employ qualified medical specialists to evaluate applications and provide more detailed information in denial letters.
These legislative fixes represent a meaningful improvement to the Caregivers Program, which many veterans have argued does not currently have the resources or transparency necessary to provide applicants with the assistance they deserve. The burden of applying for PCAFC should not fall on servicemembers who sustained injuries in the line of duty; rather, advocates should be able to guide our wounded heroes through the often complex and elusive application and appeals process.
“As a geriatric nurse practitioner who has had the privilege of caring for members of our Greatest Generation, I know just how important the VA Caregiver Program is in the lives of our nation’s heroes and how important it is to get information about this program to those who need it most,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “I’m proud to join Congressman Davis in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral bill to make improvements to the program and ensure veterans have access to the best care possible.”
“The last thing our veterans should have to worry about is filling out paperwork,” said Representative Davis. “We can and must allow the men and women who nearly died for this country to access the resources necessary to apply for assistance through the Caregivers Program. This bipartisan, bicameral bill is one step towards fulfilling this country’s promise to our heroes in Eastern North Carolina and across the country.”
“Our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country, deserve top-of-the-line care, especially when it comes to injuries they suffered from their time in uniform,” said Representative Ciscomani. “The Care Act expands and improves the existing Caregiver Program to further support our veterans and their caregivers, ensuring our veterans receive the best treatment possible.”
“VA’s Program of Comprehensive Support for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) is a critical resource for many veterans and their caregivers throughout the country,” said Wounded Warrior Project Vice President for Government and Community Relations Jose Ramos. “The CARE Act will make important improvements to the program by increasing operational transparency, ensuring that relevant medical specialists are included in the care evaluation process, and leveraging community-based resources that can help veterans and caregivers better navigate the VA health system. We appreciate Congressman Davis’ and Congresswoman Kiggans’ bipartisan leadership on this issue and look forward to seeing the CARE Act passed into law.”
This legislation is also endorsed by the Quality of Life Foundation and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
The full text of the bill can be found here.