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Bipartisan, bicameral corrective fixes proposed on behalf of veterans

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(The Center Square) – A program criticized for not having the resources or transparency needed by veterans now has corrective fixes proposed in both houses of Congress.

Reps. Don Davis, R-N.C., Jen Kiggans, R-Va., and Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., have introduced the CARE Act of 2023. Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., introduced it in the Senate last month.

The Veterans Caregiver Application and Appeals Reform Act, according to a release, should be able to improve the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. The Caregivers Program, if the bills become law, would allow veterans service organizations and other accredited agents to advocate for disabled veterans. It would also require the Department of Veterans Affairs “to employ qualified medical specialists to evaluate applications and provide more detailed information in denial letters.”

A release from Davis’ office says this would enable agents for veterans to advocate on their behalf, rather than “wounded heroes” being put “through the often complex and elusive application and appeals process.”

“The last thing our veterans should have to worry about is filling out paperwork,” Davis said. “We can and must allow the men and women who nearly died for this country to access the resources necessary to apply for assistance through the Caregivers Program.”

Davis’ 19-county district includes U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, is within a few miles of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and about an hour from the U.S. Army’s Fort Liberty, and the Marine Corps Air Stations Camp Lejeune, New River and Cherry Point.

In the release, Kiggans said, “As a geriatric nurse practitioner who has had the privilege of caring for members of our Greatest Generation, I know just how important the VA Caregiver Program is in the lives of our nation’s heroes and how important it is to get information about this program to those who need it most.”

Ciscomani said, “Our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country, deserve top-of-the-line care, especially when it comes to injuries they suffered from their time in uniform.”

Other supportive and appreciative comments in the release came from Tester; Braun; Andrea Sawyer, advocacy director for the Quality of Life Foundation; Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation; and Jose Ramos, the Wounded Warrior Project’s vice president for government and community relations.

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