Burr Introduces “Family Caregiver Program Act of 2009”

Legislation would strengthen support for family caregivers

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, today joined with Committee Chairman Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) to introduce the Family Caregiver Program Act of 2009. The legislation would strengthen support for caregivers and attendants of veterans and would help ensure veterans in need of institutional care have the choice of receiving care from a family member at home.

"Family caregivers play an important and unique role in helping to meet veterans' personal care needs, both physically and emotionally," Burr said. "Too often, family members who serve as primary caregivers face significant challenges in caring for their loved ones. It is my hope that this legislation will alleviate the burdens family caregivers face in caring for veterans in North Carolina and across our nation."

"VA's motto is to 'care for him who shall have borne the battle.' In many cases, that care is already being provided to wounded and ailing veterans at home by their families. VA must recognize and support these family caregivers for what they are: partners in a shared mission," said Akaka.

Senator Burr's bill would establish new assistance for caregivers who meet certain requirements. This includes training and certification required to meet the veterans' needs, as well as access to ongoing support services through direct technical support, counseling and mental health services, respite care, medical care, and a monthly personal caregiver allowance.

Strengthening support for families was a key recommendation from the Dole-Shalala Commission, which identified the explicit action of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs providing families of service members who require long-term personal care with appropriate training and counseling to support them in their caregiver roles. This legislation is supported by the Wounded Warrior Project.