The Family Caregivers Program provides training, counseling, mental health services, respite care, and a monthly stipend to a veteran’s caregiver. Veterans and their caregivers are eligible for the program if the veterans require assistance in activities of daily living (such as bathing, eating, or grooming) because of injuries incurred as a result of military service. S. 2216 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to temporarily extend the program’s benefits to veterans who become ineligible because they no longer require a caregiver. The duration of that extension would be determined by the department. The bill also would require VA to record the names of caregivers in veterans’ health care records and to notify both veterans and those caregivers of medical determinations that affect eligibility for the program.
VA provides caregiver benefits for 90 days after a veteran is discharged from the program because they become ineligible, die, or are permanently institutionalized. As a result, CBO expects that implementing the bill would generally codify the department’s current practice. Satisfying the bill’s recording and notification requirements would cost less than $500,000 over the 2020-2025 period, CBO estimates. Such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.