CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Independence Fund strongly endorses the VA Caregiver Continuity Act that protects Legacy Veterans and Caregivers in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) from being discharged or having their support reduced because they do not meet the Veteran's Administration (VA)'s new eligibility criteria.
"Caregivers everywhere are relieved to hear that the VA Caregiver Continuity Act has been introduced," said Sarah Verardo, CEO of the Independence Fund. "I and others are so thankful that Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) introduced this act. The erroneous disenrollments earlier this year from the PCAFC was devastating to the Caregiver community."
If adopted, the VA Caregiver Continuity Act will require the VA to permanently extend existing benefits for Veterans who were enrolled in the Caregiver Program before September 2020 and who meet the VA's Priority One Group criteria. Those who meet the VA's Priority One Group criteria include Veterans who (1) have a service-connected disability rating of 50% or more, (2) have a service-connected disability that the VA has concluded makes them unable to work, or (3) received the Medal of Honor.
"Most importantly, this legislation will require the VA to contact Veterans and their Caregivers already in the program who received notice that they were discharged and/or their benefits were reduced to inform them they will remain in the program with their current benefits intact," Verardo said.
The Independence Fund submitted a Petition for Rulemaking in early 2022 alongside 21 fellow Veteran Serving Organizations. "We were optimistic with the VA's announcement last March regarding the suspension of disenrollments and demotions for Legacy Veterans, and we promised to continue to engage and push for change," Verardo said. "We have certainly taken several steps forward since that announcement nine months ago."
This legislation ensures our nation's most at risk catastrophically disabled Veterans will retain critical Caregiver services.
"These Veterans deserve to live with dignity; providing them with the care they earned through their service is the right thing to do," Verardo said.
Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund (501c3) is committed to serving the Warfighter Community by providing innovative programs and services to support the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual independence of our servicemembers, combat Veterans, their caregivers, families, and those allies who served in combat alongside our troops, through innovative mobility and adaptive technologies and therapies for combat veterans; suicide prevention; caregiver and family support; and Veteran advocacy with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, other government agencies, federal and state legislators, and other partners. The Independence Fund believes in fairness and equality for all Veterans and families irrespective of race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and will continue to uphold these American values.
SOURCE The Independence Fund
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