News Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – today introduced legislation to improve the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) by creating fair and commonsense processes for evaluating and assessing veterans who need a caregiver and providing additional support to caregivers themselves.  

The Reinforcing Enhanced Support through Promoting Equity for Caregivers Today (RESPECT) Act would amend the PCAFC to make certain mental health professionals and neurological specialists participate in the evaluation and assessment process for veterans. Additionally, this bill would create an assessment waiver process for caregivers of veterans with chronic or degenerative conditions. The RESPECT Act would also make certain caregivers have access to valuable mental health resources in the community.

“Our nation’s veterans, who require a caregiver because of a mental health condition or brain injury, deserve an evaluation and assessment process that works for them, and their caregivers deserve support as close to home as possible,” said. Sen. Moran. “Receiving input from a veteran’s previous health care provider and providing access to a thorough history of a veteran’s treatment will help the VA provide timely resources to veterans, and allowing caregivers to seek mental health care outside of VA will help them stay healthy, strong and able to continue supporting their veteran loved ones. The RESPECT Act was born out of conversations with Kansas veterans and caregivers, and I am glad that I could take their concerns back to the Senate and make meaningful change on their behalf. ”

Sen. Moran previously introduced this legislation in the 117th Congress.

The RESPECT Act would:

  • Require VA to include qualified mental health professionals and neurological specialists in the evaluation, review and assessment process for veterans enrolling in PCAFC.
  • Require VA to create a process and requirements for treating clinicians to properly document certain mental health episodes when eligible veterans present at VA medical facilities and to ensure such documentation is shared with the PCAFC.
  • Allow caregivers to seek mental health support outside VA while establishing a grant program to ensure capacity in the community for caregivers.
  • Require VA to take non-department documents and medical records into account when determining eligibility.
  • Require VA to consult with treating providers to determine an appropriate time limit for active veteran participation during any given 24-hour period within the assessment process.
  • Clarify portions of the assessment and evaluation process that solely require caregiver participation can be conducted without requiring the veteran to be present.
  • Create a “duty to assist” similar to the Veterans Benefits Administration duty to assist and requires VA to make a good faith effort to assist the veteran in obtaining supporting documents within and outside of VA.
  • Create an assessment waiver in instances where a participating veteran’s serious injury is due to a chronic or degenerative condition and there is a high probability that the veteran’s dependency on personal services will not diminish.
  • Requires the Comptroller General to submit a report to Congress on the options for mental health support for veteran caregivers.

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