HCVA Hearing (2-6-18) VA Caregiver Program
February 7, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
RE: House Committee on Veterans Affairs Hearing (2-6-18) “VA Caregiver Support Program: Correcting Course for Veteran Caregivers” (Tampa, FL)
Early last year, Veteran Warriors provided the House Committee on Veterans Affairs with irrefutable proof that there is a systematic “culling of the herd” so to speak, of veterans from this program. After a lengthy investigation, we uncovered that over 26,100 veterans had been terminated from the program in just two years (Jan 2015 – Feb 2017). There were nearly as many that were reduced or even denied entry in the program.
We found thousands of cases around the nation, where veterans were unlawfully revoked; even when their conditions had worsened. We found evidence that there appears to be an unpublished policy prescribing specific methodologies for these terminations. They include quotas, consistent language, disregard of medical evidence and even cases of fabricated and altered evidence to support these terminations.
Over a year ago, Veteran Warriors submitted a formal request to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs for a full hearing on the VA’s “Caregiver Support Program”. In that year, despite VA leadership promises to the contrary, the terminations continue, the appeals are still being denied, and nothing has changed.
Yesterday, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a long-awaited hearing on this program (Can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyZbvPYW7Eg&feature=youtu.be). Unfortunately, the only witnesses (other than the VA) were those who are accepted as “the stakeholders” by the VA. None of the veterans or caregivers who have been affected nor those who conducted the investigation a year ago which brought to light the rampant dysfunction of the program were invited to participate.
Yesterday we watched on the sidelines again as Congressional leaders and VA officials bandied the facts and statistics. We listened as Secretary Shulkin and Ms. Margaret Kabat, (Acting Chief Consultant for the program) lobbied shamelessly for Congressional blessings for what they have been doing since 2013; gutting the program of the most eligible veterans, revoking those very veterans for whom the program was designed. All of this is being done under the guise of “expanding the program”.
We believe that the use of this latest flag is to gain support by those veterans who, due to the criteria of the law are not eligible for the current program. While we are grateful that the Committee has taken up this fight again for us, and pleased that Chairman Roe has called for yet a second “Roundtable” to discuss the situation; we can’t help but wonder how much more “discussion” is needed to prove that (as the Secretary himself has admitted); the VA is adversarial to veterans?
The time for discussion is over. It is time for action; actions that will force the VA to abide by the law and conduct this program as Congress intended.
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