Idahoans who provide care for veterans spend on average $11,500 of their personal income on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving each year—1.5 times higher than what other family caregivers spend ($7,242), according to AARP data. And 43 percent of veteran and military caregivers experienced at least one financial setback such as having to take on more debt or dip into personal savings, according to research from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving.
“Idahoans caring for our veterans should not have to worry about their finances on top of caregiving responsibilities, yet many do,” said Lupe Wissel, AARP Idaho state director. “Many veterans are not accessing their earned benefits and AARP Idaho’s free resources can help these hidden heroes learn about earned benefits and access valuable information to help build a more secure financial future.”
Across the country, more than 6.5 million veteran and military caregivers provide $14 billion in unpaid labor for America’s wounded warriors every year—putting their own financial well-being aside—and at risk.
“The financial challenges veteran and military caregivers face are too often invisible or ignored,” said Pete Jeffries, National Director of AARP’s Veterans & Military Families Initiative. “Caregiving responsibilities and expenses add up over time. From cleaning clothes at the laundromat or gassing up the car for a medical appointment, these caregivers need support to make it easier for loved ones to live independently in their homes for as long as they can.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers support and resources for caregivers of veterans enrolled in VA health care through the VA Caregiver Support Program. This program provides caregivers with access to VA health care benefits, caregiver education, financial aid, mental health services and up to 30 days of respite care. But of the 119,000 veterans living in Idaho, only 40 percent have utilized their earned benefits at VA health care, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
AARP and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation will host a webcast on the financial impact of veteran and military caregiving at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 15. AARP Caregiving Expert Amy Goyer and the Dole Foundation’s Financial Wellness Program Manager Shawn Moore will share experiences and insight from their personal caregiving journeys and provide expert advice on how to build a secure financial future.
AARP offers free resources for veteran and military caregivers, including:
· Health Benefits Navigator: Digital Edition
· AARP Financial Workbook for Veteran and Military Family Caregivers
· Military Caregiving Guide for Veterans, Service Members and Their Families
· Mental & Emotional Health Support Guide from AARP and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation
For more information on AARP’s support for veterans and military families, visit aarp.org/veterans.
This story is provided by AARP Idaho. Visit the AARP Idaho page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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