In May, we honor our military caregivers—the 5.5 million friends and family members caring for ill and injured service members and veterans. The crucial work of these men and women in providing the care that veterans need to get through their daily lives is, too often, unrecognized.
As chronicled in the landmark 2014 Hidden Heroes study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, caregiving takes a significant emotional and financial toll, especially for caregivers of those who have served most recently. Half of all caregivers for post-9/11 veterans reported taking unpaid time off from work or stopping work temporarily as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. A shocking 28% of caregivers for post-9/11 veterans quit working entirely. As a result of this lost income, combined with other factors such as a health care costs, 62% of post-9/11 caregivers report that providing care has placed them under financial strain.
Caring for a loved one wounded while serving our country should never mean risking your economic security. That’s why, at A Better Balance, we’re fighting for policies like paid leave to ensure that America’s military caregivers have the protections and support they need for their invaluable service.