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CHICAGO (CBS) – Senator Dick Durbin stood with a group of wounded Iraq War veterans and their caregivers – and encouraged veterans and their families to apply for help from the Family Caregiver Program.
After his first tour of duty in Iraq, Brad Schwarz of McHenry suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. On his second tour, a roadside bomb went off – and out of five soldiers, he was the only survivor. He suffered severe brain injury.
His mother Sandra became his caregiver.
“He would forget appointments, had poor financial management, not to mention night terrors, insomnia, crying for hours on end on an anniversary of a buddy that he lost,” Sandra Schwarz said. “It was heartbreaking, and I was exhausted. I didn’t realize how life-changing his injuries would be for me.”
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Then she says they applied for help from the Family Caregiver Program, which Durbin had pushed through Congress. And Schwarz says she soon got a call offering help.
“I felt hopeful. She asked if I had any needs. Well, boy, did I,” she said.
Durbin says more than 3,500 veterans nationwide are eligible for the program. He says only 67 in Illinois have applied.
Durbin’s office says so far, 36 Illinois families are actually taking part in the program – and that each family receives about $1,600 a month.