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Wounded Warrior Project Applauds The Administration for Improvements to Caregiver Benefit Implementation Plan

--Many caregivers of severely wounded veterans can expect benefits in hand by summertime--

Jacksonville, FL (May 3, 2011) – Today, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) commends President Barack Obama and his Administration for making substantial improvements to the implementation plan of the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Services Act and honoring their commitment to the caregivers of veterans injured during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

“Wounded Warrior Project commends President Obama for hearing the message sent by families in need and directing this law be implemented swiftly and with broader coverage for these families,” said WWP Executive Director Steve Nardizzi.  “We are also thankful to Congress for first recognizing this crucial need and passing the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act last year.” 

The interim final rule released today details eligibility criterion and how benefits for veterans and their caregivers will be administered. The regulations target a group of approximately 3,596 veterans in need of primary care givers and mark a substantial improvement over the implementation plan VA originally released in February which would have covered only several hundred. 

“This plan marks a substantial step forward and we are encouraged to see that the eligibility requirements will likely cover those warriors suffering with the signature wound of this war, Traumatic Brain Injury,” Nardizzi continued. “We will spend time digesting the new rule and plan to submit comments to remedy some remaining limitations within the program. It is our hope that these families will receive the most robust care and support they were promised and so desperately need and deserve.” 

Family members make great personal sacrifices to provide daily care to their loved ones, often giving up careers and putting their own lives on hold to be long-term, full-time caregivers. Under the new law, the Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for providing family caregivers of the most severely injured veterans with help in meeting some of their own basic needs – including training and technical support, respite care, counseling, health coverage, and modest financial support.   

VA will begin accepting enrollment applications as early as May 9th.  Written comments will be accepted with regards to this regulation for the next 60 days. Email comments may be submitted and reviewed at http://www.regulations.gov

About Wounded Warrior Project

The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and service to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.