Yesterday, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it will temporarily stop removing veterans from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). This comes roughly one week after Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5) led the Oregon delegation in sending a letter to VA Secretary Shulkin asking for a halt on removing veterans from the PCAFC in Portland where veterans have been getting kicked off at a rate of 50%, significantly higher than the national rate of 16%.
“I’m very pleased that the VA heard the concerns that I and my Oregon colleagues laid out in a letter two weeks ago calling on them to immediately stop removing veterans from the Portland Caregiver Program, and they've now expanded that to veterans nationwide. Our veterans in Oregon and across the entire country deserve transparency which includes knowing exactly what standards they’re being held to. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the VA to get the answers we need, to resolve these cases, and to ensure that our veterans are receiving the best and most appropriate care.”
Rep. Schrader first called on the Portland VA to stop kicking veterans off of the PCAFC last month after a report in the Oregonian chronicled the experience of Aaron Olivas, an Iraq veteran in Portland who was kicked off of the program last year without clear reason and has been struggling through the appeals process with few answers.
The extremely high rate of removal has not been exclusive to Portland; caregiver programs across the country, including in North Carolina, Arizona, South Carolina, and Texas have seen a similarly unqualified spike in removals over the last year.