Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'





Veteran Caregivers Continue to Wait for Benefits

Law is slow to provide support, respite care

Amid much fanfare, President Obama signed legislation last May designed to dramatically ease the burden faced by caregivers of this nation's wounded veterans.

See also: When wounded vets come home.

Under the law — known as the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act — those caring for veterans wounded since Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible for a host of benefits ranging from financial assistance to mental health support and respite care as of January 2011.


Veteran caregivers continue to wait for "critically needed benefits." — Kevin Moloney/The New York Times/Redux

But today that assistance is nowhere to be found. Implementation of the law is so delayed that a month after the program was supposed to begin, the Department of Veterans Affairs was still working to figure out how it might work and who exactly would qualify for benefits.

"They're pretty upset," says Disabled American Veterans' Adrian Atizado of the families he's heard from.

Members of Congress also are none too pleased about the delay. A group of 18 senators representing both parties wrote to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki in February accusing the agency of withholding "critically needed benefits."

For their part, VA officials now say the program could be in place by this summer.

"We all agree the process has taken longer than many expected," the agency said in a statement. "This is new territory for VA, but we have to get it right."

Michelle Diament is a frequent contributor to the AARP Bulletin.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Resource Center

Find tools, work sheets and tips on how to plan, prepare and succeed as a caregiver. Select a Caregiving Resource Center topic from the drop-down menu below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members save on hearing care with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members save 20% off installation of any NEW ADT Personal Emergency Response System.

Movies Unlimited

Members save 10% on purchases of DVDs & Blu-ray discs with Movies Unlimited.

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.



What do you wish you knew when you first started caring for a loved one? Discuss

Tactics for Aging In Place

Home is where the Heart is. Share with us your stories, strategies and caregiving tips for aging at home. Discuss