VA’s caregiver program losing top official at a critical moment
By: Leo Shane III
March 20, 2019
The Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support Program is about to lose its top official as concerns mount about delays to a planned expansion of the benefit later this year.
Ida Malone checks on her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, before a training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games at Ventura County Naval Station Port Hueneme in Oxnard, Calif. June 3, 2015. (EJ Hersom/Defense Department)
Department officials confirmed Tuesday that Meg Kabat, director of the program, will leave that post on April 3 “to pursue private-sector employment opportunities.” The move leaves another key leadership void at the department, although VA staff downplayed those concerns.
“The National Caregiver Support Program Office is staffed by dedicated and knowledgeable employees who will ensure the efforts Meg led continue without interruption,” Veterans Health Administration Chief of Staff Larry Connell said in a statement. “VA plans to name Meg’s replacement in the near future.”
The expansion could grant monthly stipends to more than 41,000 veteran families in coming years, more than doubling the current number of stipend recipients. Under legislation passed last summer, the department is scheduled to phase in the payouts over two years after the IT certification takes place.
Veterans groups have expressed alarm over current program operations, noting that staffing and support levels for the workload today aren’t enough.
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