Sinema Backs Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Communication Between VA, Caregivers

Nov 22, 2019

Senator’s legislation extends support benefits for veterans and their caregivers by 90 days

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan Transparency and Effective Accountability Measures for Veteran Caregivers Act – legislation strengthening communication between the VA and veterans’ caregivers. 
“Many Arizona veterans rely on personal caregivers who need proper resources to provide critical care. Improving communication between the VA and caregivers helps ensure our veterans and their caregivers receive the support they deserve,” said Sinema, a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  
“I applaud Senator Sinema’s decision to cosponsor the TEAM Veteran Caregivers Act. Caregivers provide countless hours of clinical and non-clinical care to our nation’s disabled Veterans but, too often, our position on the Veteran’s care-team is unclear.  A clear status of the caregiver in the Veteran’s record will provide VA staff the information they need to appropriately discuss clinical needs, schedule appointments, provide documentation, and much more. In essence, this makes everyone’s job easier and insures that the Veteran is allowed much needed support,” said Sharon Grassi, 2018-19 Arizona Dole Caregiver Fellow and proud mom of Sgt Derek Tope, OEF/OIF Medic/Infantryman.
The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers among other things provides eligible veteran caregivers stipends so that veterans may receive essential care from their loved ones in the comfort of their own homes. Unfortunately, reports from 2017 and 2018 showed veterans and their caregivers were being indiscriminately dropped from the program without proper notice or explanation. The Transparency and Effective Accountability Measures for Veteran Caregivers Act ensures caregivers can obtain a minimum standard of information necessary to file an appeal following a change of status in the program and provides veterans and their caregivers more time to consider next steps after leaving the program.
Sinema has long been a champion for Arizona veterans and servicemembers. Last month, Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act to establish a taskforce equipped to expand access to public lands for the rehabilitation and therapy of veterans and identify existing barriers that prevent veterans from utilizing outdoor recreation for medical treatment.
Sinema has led multiple successful efforts to strengthen services and protections for Arizona veterans. Her LEGION Act, which extends American Legion membership to honorably discharged veterans since World War II, was signed into law. Additionally, Sinema’s bipartisan Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act, which safeguards veterans from predatory loan practices and helps them more easily access their earned homeowner benefits, was also signed into law.