Sen.Durbin announces new benefits for veterans

KMOX-AM St. Louis
May 17, 2010
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is announcing benefits to the families of disabled veterans.

The benefits are for family members who are the full-time care-givers for disabled veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan , a provision Durbin authored that was included in the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, recently signed into law by President Obama.

Under the law, those care givers will get training (at government expense; completion of the training is a requirement for the other benefits), a stipend, health insurance and relief, so they can take off 30 days per year.

In addition, caregivers of veterans who were injured prior to Sept. 11, 2001 are eligible for training and education, counseling and mental health care, and respite care.

It is estimated by the Wounded Warrior Project that each year, there are 700 new veterans who require this type of care. Over time, some recover and some die, so the total needing this care at any given time is estimated at 2,000.

The authorized cost to taxpayers: $1.3 billion this year, $1.5 billion for each of the next three years.