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Generous Trump Donates 1st Quarter Salary to VA

As president, Donald Trump is a man of the people. His latest move goes on to show the grace in the man. He recently donated his salary, drawn from the first quarter of 2018 to the Department of Veteran Affairs. The program was founded to bring benefits to veteran caregivers.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders handed out a check worth $100,000 to the acting Veteran Affairs Secretary, Robert Wilkie on Thursday during a news briefing

Notably, during the campaigns, Trump had pledged that he would donate his salary to organizations he felt were in good standing. Other than donating to the VA, he has also sent out checks to the National Park Service, the Departments of Education, Transportation, Human Services, and Health.

Wilkie made a point to remind Americans about the pledge Trump had made during the campaign period. He cited Trump’s commitment to helping out veterans as much as he could. More specifically, he was concerned about the state of everyone, not just those in the VA, but, also the wives, husbands and community caregivers, wherever they may be stationed. He acknowledged that they are wonderful people who go out there, every single day to ensure that life becomes easier for those who served the nation in battle.

Support Program

Trump’s donation was intended to specifically serve the VA Caregiver Support Program. This is an initiative created to provide necessities like medical training services, monthly stipends and access to services like mental health counseling to caregivers for veterans

Over the last year, the program has come into the spotlight following news reports about irregularities. Reporters made discoveries that some VA medical centers were dropping some families from it. In addition to that, the VA health centers are said to favor the application of eligibility criteria, especially when taking on new families.

Following the news, the agency started making plans to review the program from April 2017. During the review, they ordered VA hospitals to temporarily halt the removal of families. Right after the review, the VA released a statement indicating that they had made a couple of changes to the training they give their staff. In addition, they promised to enhance their communication channels with caregivers and veterans.

Just last month, two senators, Robert Casey., D-Penn, and Dean Heller, R-Nev., wrote to Wilkie to make inquiries that he reports things he believes the program had improved. The two senators also asked the VA to reconsider old cases of families dropped from the caregiver program before the agency’s April 2017 review.

In their letter, they stated their firm belief that a re-evaluation of the discharges and rectification of politically incorrect or inconsistent discharge decisions was of the essence in helping sure the agency’s commitment to improving caregivers’ and veterans’ confidence in the program, was still on track.

Winds of Change

With the extension set to kick in anytime soon, the Congressional Budget Office expects that tens of thousands of veteran caregivers will join the program and the cost to cover all of them would hike to $6.7 billion in the years 2019-2023

As things stand, the caregivers’ program is set to undergo a number of major changes. This is especially true once one takes into account the new legislation brought before Congress. The VA Mission Act was approved by House members last Wednesday and includes a couple of measures intended to prolong caregivers’ benefits.

The program specifically caters to the families of injured veterans during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While the program was launched in good faith, in recent times, there has been great opposition to this move by a number of critics and advocates who have described it as an unfair discrepancy. The Mission Act stipulates that the benefits only start rolling into the caregivers of veterans injured before May 7, 1975. This means that two years after the bill is enacted, veterans injured between the years 1975 and 2001 would qualify for the program.

Last Thursday was the first time Wilkie, now 50 days into his interim position as VA secretary, had addressed reporters. He stated that he was extremely proud that he had been given the opportunity to serve America’s veterans. President Trump has not yet gotten a new nominee for the position after Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, withdrew from consideration last month.

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