Sinema raised specific concerns about the VA excluding veterans from accessing caregiving benefits they’ve earned
WASHINGTON- Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema urged Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to improve the implementation of the VA’s expanded Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) and work with Arizona veterans, caregivers, and stakeholders to ensure Arizona veterans and their caregivers can access the benefits they’ve earned.
“Caregivers help Arizona veterans navigate day-to-date activities with a sense of independence and freedom. The VA must do everything possible to help Arizona veterans and caregivers access critical benefits and resources they’ve earned,” said Sinema.
Earlier this month, the VA expanded their Caregiver Program with little notice to Congress, Veteran Service Organizations, or the veteran community – resulting in many Arizona veterans and caregivers struggling to understand whether they are eligible for the expanded benefit. In her letter, Sinema raised concerns that the VA failed to develop a coordinated outreach plan to identify and enroll eligible veterans and their caregivers. Sinema also stated her disappointment that the VA’s new eligibility criteria will exclude previously eligible veterans and does not recognize the complexity of injuries caregivers support.
Sinema specifically called on the VA to:
1. Launch a coordinated outreach plan to ensure veterans and their caregivers have information about the Family Caregiver Program expansion.
2. Use current VA data to proactively identify and notify veterans supported by caregivers who are likely eligible for this program based on current criteria, and assist them in enrolling for the program.
3. Create a system to assist veterans and their caregivers who are not eligible for the program and connect them to VA programs and community partners where applicable.
Read Sinema’s full letter HERE.