VA announced the formation of the Veterans’ Family, Caregiver and Survivor Federal Advisory Committee as part of VA secretary Dr. David Shulkin’s commitment to supporting our nation’s Veterans and those who care for them.

The new committee will be chaired by former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a noted advocate for military caregivers, and the founder of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Hidden Heroes Campaign, both of which regularly collaborate with the VA on issues related to military caregiving.

“The VA is committed to the delivery of highest quality care and support to our Veterans, and recognizes the essential role their families, caregivers, and survivors have every day,” said Shulkin. “Senator Dole is an accomplished and experienced advocate for Veterans’ caregivers I am honored that she will chair this landmark committee.”

The committee will advise the secretary, through the chief Veterans experience officer, on matters related to Veterans’ families, caregivers, and survivors across all generations, relationships, and Veteran status, with a focus on gaining a better understanding of the use of VA care and benefits services, and factors that influence access, quality, and accountability for those services. A key element of the committee’s work will be to engage Veteran family members, research experts, and family service providers as a way to better understand their needs and identify ways VA can continue to support them in the best possible way.

“Military families, caregivers, and survivors are truly our nation’s hidden heroes, and make great sacrifices each and every day on behalf of their loved ones, so we must do more to support them on their journey. VA, under Secretary Shulkin’s leadership, is stepping up at a time of tremendous need and opportunity,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, herself a caregiver to her husband, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole, a World War II Veteran injured in combat. “I am proud to serve as chair of such a critical committee, alongside some of the nation’s top voices on the issues that affect Veterans and their families.”

Serving alongside Senator Dole on the committee will be Sherman Gillums, vice chair; Mary Buckler, Bonnie Carroll, Melissa Comeau, Harriet Dominique, Jennifer Dorn, Ellyn Dunford, Dr. Robert Koffman, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Linnington, Joe Robinson, Elaine Rogers, retired Brig. Gen. Dr. Loree Sutton, Francisco Urena, Shirley White, Lee Woodruff, and Lolita Zinke.

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Published on Oct. 2, 2017

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  1. Virginia Tindell October 24, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I wonder if anyone that can do anything on this committee is reading this. I am 66 my husband is 67 and he was forced into early retirement due to after effects of agent orange. kidney failure, congestive heart failure, a mechanical valve in his heart that he takes warafin for which caused in blood to get to thin causing brain bleeds he nearly died from and caused brain damage. he also got ulcers on his toes and has lost his big toe so far. His body is dying piece by piece because the government poisoned him. I work full time and take care of him and frequently work from the hospital. He was a Sr Programmer Analyst making a VERY good living until the brain bleed, he is over 100% disabled but when my husband goes I do not believe I will be able to support myself. At this age we planned on traveling and having such a good time in our Sr. years. The government took that away from us now they do not care about the impact on our future they have made. Once he is gone which will likely not be long they do not care if the wife that has been with him since we were 16 cannot support herself because they poisoned her husband. His dad lived to be 92 If my husband makes it to 70 it will be a miracle. This is not right, you stole our future and it was a great one to us… I cry a lot I want my husband back, I don’t want to be his caregiver, I want to be his wife.

  2. Lucretia Jackson October 23, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Hello, my name is Lucretia Jackson. I would like to sit on this committee as a 7 year Army Veteran and an employee of the Hampton VA medical center. I would like to give some first had advice to ensure the Veteran and his family/survivors/caregivers receive the best advocacy that money can and cannot buy. Please contact me.

  3. Donna O'Neil October 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    If a 100% Service Related Disabled Veteran is cared for at home, it saves a huge amount of the cost to support the veteran in a care facility. Why then are those who care full time for veterans serving in the years prior to 9-11-2001 not compensated as the post 9-11-2001 veteran caregivers are?

    Are they entitled to less opportunity for care at home and needing to be placed in a care facility? Costs more money to the VA. Costs more emotional pain to the veteran and the family. Makes no sense,

  4. carmen October 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    He was taken from me Oct. 13, 2016 and today is Oct 13, 2017 1 year and he wants to come home so bad!
    He is not being cared for like I would, I want him home and love him
    He fought for our freedom so the least I can do is fight for his…a combat veteran in the Korea war.
    Can anyone help me bring him home…
    He can do a self discharge out of Olivia, MN Golden Living Rehab, without any rehab to get him better after his stroke.
    I have all the equipment and love and miss him so much….
    The nurse needs to write the discharge order and he is free to go, and come back to me in Mesa, AZ
    Can anyone help me please with this?
    We will need nothing but a flight and someone to help him get to the airport…
    right side paralyzed from a stroke but he can stand and pivot to a chair on a plane….and he can sit for 3 hours flight
    from twin cities to phoenix…
    can someone please help my warrior friend get home….

    thank you for letting me post here and sorry if it is in the wrong section

  5. Harvey Vern Smith October 11, 2017 at 6:05 am

    A. Is Elizabeth Dole being paid for this position and if the answer is yes how much ?
    B. Was there any attempt to fill this position with a Vet ?

    • carmen October 13, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      I am with you on this…we need to come up with a solution for our love and life with a veteran and our spouse/caregiver duties.
      well stated and understand completely

  6. DeAnna Gardner October 8, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Many wives take care of their veteran husband. All alone & to the point of being detrimental to their own health. We do this because we want them home, not in a nursing home. Yet, there is no compensation for all the work. Physically, it would be easier to send them to hospital…then the VA would have to incur the expense. But, because of love, we keep them home. The government harmed the Vietnam veteran with agent orange. Wives should be compensated for absorbing the extra hours & physically challenging care.

  7. Diann Kemp October 7, 2017 at 10:56 am

    When you lose your spouse his pension stops and your source of money to live on. Then you have to re apply for one third of it and that can be months without money while you wait. .The va could just make this simple keeping everything in place just asking for a copy of the marriage certificate and a short form .Also Why 10 years at 100 percent wouldn’t eight be enough or pro rate ….

  8. JACK L October 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm


  9. Anthony S. Fucci October 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    is the VA going to offer Spousal Caregiver Benefit for vets from prior 9-11 time frame (Korea)

  10. Deborah Pierce October 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    WHY isn’t the Spouse considered the caregiver? Why isn’t the vet before 2000 considered to be in need of a caregiver as much as the ones after??

  11. Sherrie Royce October 6, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I have lost my husband to asbestosis which he was exposed towhen he was in Vietnam. Here’s wh he is was 100% disabled I have not worked in 25 years I have raised four children and took care of my husband who was very very sick for a long long period of time he passed away without any life insurance my kids are grown I have no education or schooling. Iam 53 an The pressure and the stress of losing him now I’m losing my house my car everything we work together for the stress has made my depressed unbearable . I found bankruptcy on my credit cards therefore I do not qualify for a VA loan . I do get some compensation from his disability it’s not enough to pay my bills . I feel that the VA has let me down and left my empty-handed and homeless . I keep hearing there is no funding for a caregiver . That would be me I gave up everything to take care of him and my children . Now I have to give up home cause there is no caregiver help.

  12. STEVEN C GRATZER October 6, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Why this old dame who is no longer a Senator? My God!

    • Maria Morrill October 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      since when does someone’s age dictate whether or not they will be effective. you sound like a baby who just wants to whine.

      • Robert Lypka October 6, 2017 at 9:29 pm

        Elizabeth Dole was no great friend of veterans when she was a senator. She would come down to Bragg for photo ops and then go back to DC and vote against bills that were to help vet’s. She also was very anti consumer. She sponsored legislation against Dodd Frank and the consumer protection laws even while she was a lame duck senator after she had been beat in the election. You need to vet these people more carefully. Hopefully this is a gratis position and not one that has a big paycheck. Couldn’t find a vet to fill this post I presume. Preferably someone who hadn’t been a politician.

  13. Debra Ellken Gray October 6, 2017 at 10:13 am

    See my comment….aka…..HELP!!!!

  14. Rebeckah A Brooks October 6, 2017 at 9:36 am

    My husband had to stop working as a truck driver to take care of me I had four surgeries. The claim paperwork was lost the first time and not completed by the Dr. the second time. I have a rating of 100% total and permanent disabled what can we do to get help?

  15. Janie October 6, 2017 at 9:31 am

    A spouse can not receive the aid and attendance money yet usually it is the spouse that takes the veteran to all appointments
    and takes care of the veteran most of the time. I wonder if it could be divided between the spouse and someone hired to come in the home.

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