Bill proposed to help veteran caregivers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bill proposed to help veteran caregivers

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut lawmakers have pushed to give assistance to veterans' loved ones, who they call "silent heroes."

Channel 3's Matt Campbell spoke with family members who said once veteran's return home, another battle begins.

When Marine Gulaid Ismail returned from war, his flashbacks of war were as vivid as when he lived them.

"The most difficult part is the anniversary time. Nightmares tend to be more intense," said Ismail.

As Ismaid struggled with PTSD, his wife Davina Ismail struggled with him.

"Most of his friends are in the military and when they get together, he comes back home with that cloud of things that happened which presented itself in seclusion, drinking heavily, reckless behavior at times," said Ismail.

Although they received help from the V.A. hospital, Ismail is her husband's primary care giver.

"The difference between her and a doctor is that I have a intimate relationship with her and I'm more open with her than I would be with a doctor," said Ismail.

Ismail said she's had to adjust her behavior due to her husband's condition.

"You don't wake him up by shaking him, kind of call him. When we go out to a restaurant, I make sure he's facing a door," said Ismail.

Ismail is not alone. She is one of thousands of caregivers who tend to their loved one's wounds, disabilities and emotional struggles of veterans once they return from war.

Senator Richard Blumenthal has proposed the Veteran's First Act, which is aimed to help those caregivers.

"The folks who take care of these veterans are no less heroes than the veterans themselves," said Blumenthal.

If passed, the law will provide tax-free stipends for caregivers as well as improve financial planning, counseling and health insurance available for veterans when they return.

Blumenthal said pre-9/11 veterans are especially in need of help because they're now largely excluded from these benefits.

The bill has received bipartisan support.

Blumenthal is hopeful the bill will pass through Congress by July 4th.

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