New benefits for those caring for wounded troops have yet to materialize even though President Barack Obama signed a measure into law nine months ago. The Veterans Affairs Department has missed a January deadline for implementing the law as it struggles to work out details, The Washington Post reported
The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act was designed to provide financial assistance, counseling, and fill-in help for those helping military members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, implementing the law is taking longer than expected, the Post said.
Christine Schei, who left her job to care for her son who was wounded by a sniper in Iraq, told the Post, “We were really excited that somebody was taking us seriously and finally understanding the sacrifices we are making. We were counting down to the end of January to begin receiving these benefits. Now it looks like they haven't even begun."
Veterans Affairs officials have spent months working out such details about who exactly is eligible for benefits and whether the law applies to veterans injured before Sept. 11, 2001. They have consulted with families, members of Congress and veterans groups, the Post said.
The goal of the program, estimated to cost $6.7 billion over a five-year period, was to encourage home care for severely wounded vets instead of institutionalization. Estimates concluded that about 3,500 veterans and those caring for them would be eligible for the program, the Post said.
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