New Law Helps Caregivers Aid Service Members Transitioning from Active Military5 min read

by | Jan 17, 2018 | Blog

The “National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year of 2018” went into effect on December 12, 2017. The bill included “SEC. 541. Element in Preseparation Counseling for Members of the Armed Forces on Assistance and Support Services for Caregivers of Certain Veterans Through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.” Section 541 of the bill ensures healthcare providers attempt to include any caregivers in conversations with military members about their veteran benefits as they transition from active duty. By implementing this legislation effectively, veterans receiving care or who will receive care have an open line of communication with their caregiver(s) about their benefits and other factors regarding their health. This week, we’re going to dive into Section 541 of the National Defense Authorization Act, what it does, and what that means for veterans and their caregivers.

veteran care

What Does the Bill State?

Section 541 states that the Secretary of each military department is required to identify individuals in “preseparation counseling” who may require a caregiver’s services after transitioning out of duty. Additionally, they should identify a caregiver to provide those services and attempt to make arrangements to include that person in the military member’s preseparation counseling. This is to ensure the caregiver is fully aware of the services provided to him or her as the caregiver of a veteran, as well as to go over how the transition will affect the service member in question.

The term “caregiver” is defined under the new law as “a spouse, partner, parent, sibling, adult child, other relative, or friend” who will provide care either emotionally or physically to a service member during his or her transition out of the military. It does not state that that list of potential caregivers is exclusive. The bill also explicitly states that the the Secretary of each military department should be doing the work to identify veterans who can benefit from the program, and must do so within the first 180 days after the bill’s passing on the 12th of December.

veteran care

What Does this Mean for Service Members with Caregivers?

Very little is required from service members with caregivers. Basically, the person explaining a future veteran’s benefits will ask the service member whether or not they need or want emotional or physical care at the time of their transition out of the military. If a caregiver is deemed beneficial, one will be identified and brought into counseling with the service member so that both they and their caregiver fully understand the support they can get from the Armed Forces during and after their transition into civilian life. By writing Section 541 into law, veterans and their caregivers are given the opportunity to take full advantage of the support services available to them. In doing so, veterans are set up for success when they enter civilian life. An important goal of the American government should always be to provide veterans with the ability to make the most of their lives after active duty has ended; this section of the bill helps tighten the community of support around service members in preseparation counseling. Hopefully, that will mean an easier transition into civilian life for veterans who need physical or emotional care.

Are you a military member who needs care after your transition from the military? Optimal Home Care is ready to help. Contact us today to discuss your options.