Washington, D.C. (May 5, 2015) – Today Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) marked the five-year anniversary of the passage of the historic Caregiver Assistance Law of 2010. This landmark legislation recognized the risk that the extraordinary toll of caregiving could physically, emotionally, or financially overwhelm the caregiver and result in unwanted, and very costly, institutionalization for the injured veteran. The Caregiver Assistance Law established the framework for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Caregiver Program, which now provides critical services and support to over 19,000 caregivers of injured veterans.
WWP has long been committed to serving this generation of injured veterans, their families, and caregivers through advocacy and action. As the lead advocate for the Caregiver Assistance Law, WWP specifically advocated for a program that would provide caregivers with needed training, technical support, mental health counseling, health care coverage, respite care, and a modest financial stipend.
“In working daily with injured veterans, WWP continues to see firsthand how profoundly a warrior’s injury changes an entire family’s life, and how heavy a toll the lack of assistance can take on caregivers,” said Jeremy Chwat, chief program officer at WWP. “The Caregiver Program was a critically needed step towards easing the burden of caring for seriously injured warriors, but the long-standing issues that continue to plague the program remind us that our work is far from complete.”
In testimony before the Committees on Veterans Affairs for the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier this year, WWP asked VA to resolve the long-standing issues with VA’s implementation of the Caregiver Program, and to ease the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) reporting and oversight requirements on caregivers who are also fiduciaries for their loved ones.
Since 2010, WWP has been using the information gathered from its Annual Alumni Survey to refine its existing programs, develop new initiatives, identify gaps in existing services and support, and create and advocate for legislation that positively impacts warriors and their families. This year’s data showed 3 out of 10 warriors need the aid and attendance of another person because of their injuries and health problems; among them, more than one-fourth need more than 40 hours of aid per week. The results also showed 43.2 percent of warriors reported having a traumatic brain injury and 75 percent reported experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
To learn more about how WWP continues to support caregivers through advocacy, read our policy agenda.