Murray criticizes delays on veteran caregivers

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WASHINGTON D.C. -- Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has criticized delays in a program to train families to be caregivers for injured veterans.

Murray, who is chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said Wednesday the plan by the Department of Veterans Affairs to move ahead with the caregivers act "is simply not good enough."

In a release, Murray said that even after long delays, the VA still has no definitive date when veterans and caregivers will begin receiving the services required by the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.

The department has also put forth criteria narrowing eligibility for the caregiver program.

Murray and 16 other senators have sent the Obama administration a bi-partisan letter calling for an end to the delays to provide families of seriously injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with the caregiver training.

The law also requires the VA to provide ongoing supportive services including respite, counseling, technical assistance and a living stipend.

The act directed the VA to begin providing caregiver support by the end of January.

But Murray said in a release "the administration is only now preparing regulations, which will have to undergo a lengthy public comment and approval process, to implement the law."

Murray said she is "not going to let the VA minimize the impact of the bill we have passed.

"I know that this administration has made clear that they want to provide new support for our military families. This is a critical step to doing just that," she said.

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