VA is reversing course by eliminating caregivers for Arizona families from the program

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -The VA is changing course on plans to drop grants for family members to care for our injured veterans.

“It proves that standing up and saying, ‘That’s not right,’ works,” said Lindsay Dove, who lives in Gilbert. She has fought to keep her husband Kevin by his side and continue to be his caregiver after fighting for our country and doing 3 tours in Iraq.

Dove and thousands of others in the same position were at risk of losing income and being dropped from the VA supervisor program after a department spokesman said they were re-evaluating current supervisors to see if they could fit in under the new criteria the new criteria would fit Mission Law 2018 passed. Now, after years of pressure from caregivers, lawmakers and even lawsuits from support groups, the VA is returning to its position.

“It has become apparent that there were some unintended consequences in the way the regulations were written,” VA Assistant Secretary Donald Remy said. “Let me be clear, especially clear on this point; We will, I repeat, not remove anyone from the program or reduce eligibility for support until we have re-examined our own criteria.”

Now the caregiver program is before lawmakers in a Senate committee with lawmakers like Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema standing up for veterans and polling the VA.

“From the caregivers I’m hearing from in Arizona, it’s a full-time job with little job security, even after the VA’s announcement yesterday,” Sinema said.

Caregivers like Dove hope the VA reversal course on layoffs is a learning experience for the future. “I think the folks at the VA owe a lot of caregivers an apology right now,” Dove said. “It’s been taken too far in the wrong direction.”

The VA said they would continue reassessments, although they would not be dropping any more maintainers. A spokesman said they will keep in touch with the caregivers who dropped them.

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