The new veterans healthcare bill signed by President Donald Trump on Wednesday changed the landscape for more than 4 million caregivers of wounded warriors, healthcare advocate Steve Schwab told Newsmax TV.
In an interview Wednesday on "Newsmax Now," Schwab, the executive director of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which focuses on relatives and friends who care for wounded or ailing vets, hailed the VA Mission Act as one that "gives more choices inside the system and outside."
He noted the historic component of the bill that offers support, for the first time, for caregivers of veterans wounded before 9/11.
"Right now 4.4 million veteran caregivers — these are the spouses, mothers and dads, brothers and sisters, and loved ones who are caring for wounded warriors at home — who served prior to 9/11 weren't eligible for service or support" from the Veterans Administration, he said.
"[Wednesday], all of that changed."
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The Elizabeth Dole Foundation played a crucial role in the process, as well, funding a Rand Corp. study in 2014 that focused on the caregivers of wounded, ill, and injured military service members and veterans. The study found 5.5 million caregivers of veterans were in need of support.
"So many more veterans are coming home with disabilities," he said. "And so many family members are inheriting care for those veterans.
"The VA system was quick to move for the post-9/11 veteran cohort, but we ignored the largest cadre of caregivers — the 4.4 million pre-9/11 caregivers."
"They're in desperate situations to find care for their loved one," he added, "and until [Wednesday], many of them weren't eligible for that care and support."
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