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gettyimages 452892124 Elizabeth Dole will chair VA’s new caregiver committee

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 29: Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) (4th L) speaks as (L-R) Melissa Comeau of Flagstaff, Arizona, a wounded worrior spouses, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) listen during an event to unveil a new bipartisan Hidden Heroes Congressional Caucus for Military and Veteran Caregivers July 29, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The caucus is to “raise awareness and develop and advance legislation in support of America’s 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

Former Senator Elizabeth Dole has agreed to chair Veterans Affairs’ new Veterans’ Family, Caregiver and Survivor Federal Advisory Committee. Dole has often collaborated with the VA on issues in the past as part of her role with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Hidden Heroes Campaign.

“Military families, caregivers and survivors are truly our nation’s hidden heroes, and make great sacrifices each day and every day on behalf of their loved ones, so we must do more to support them on their journey,” Dole said. “VA, under Secretary Shulkin’s leadership, is stepping up at a time of tremendous need and opportunity.”

Dole is a caregiver herself. Her husband, former US Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole, is a World War II veterans and was injured in combat.

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

Last year, the VA conducted a review of the caregiver program after it was reported that some VA medical centers were cutting back on the number of families receive caregiver benefits. Currently, there are more than 20,000 people in the VA’s caregiver stipend program.

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