The effects of war not only stay with our veterans but also with their loved ones. If you are a family member of a veteran who relies on your assistance for Activities of Daily Living (ADL) you may qualify for benefits. Veteran Family caregivers can be instrumental for their loved ones!
A veteran must have a serious injury such as: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), psychological trauma, or other mental disorder that was caused or aggravated by his or her active-duty service on or after Sept. 11, 2001 AND need personal care services because the veteran cannot perform one or more activities of daily living and/or needs supervision or protection based on symptoms of lasting neurological damage or injury. The veteran must need assistance for six months of continuous caregiver support.
What you need to do
Complete and submit VA Form 10-10CG Application for Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program. The family caregiver and veteran both need to sign and date the application. Only one primary caregiver may be assigned per veteran, and up to two secondary caregivers may be assigned. A secondary caregiver may be selected for back-up purposes, for instance, if the primary caregiver is unable to fulfill their obligation for a period of time. A secondary caregiver does not have to be selected by the veteran, however. When submitting the application you will also have to provide identification for the caregiver and the veteran, as well as health coverage information.
Must be at least 18 years old. Must agree to perform personal care services for the veteran defined in the Plan of Care established by the primary physician. Must be a relative of the veteran such as spouse, child, step-family, or extended family member. Alternatively, if the caregiver is not a family member, he or she must reside with the veteran after the need for the Family Caregiver has been established. Must complete VA Caregiver Training program as defined by program guidelines.
Once you have submitted your application, you will be assigned a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) from your local VA Medical Center for an evaluation. The clinical evaluation will determine the level of dependency the veteran requires, such as the degree of assistance needed for the veteran to complete ADLs.
Activities of Daily Living:
- Personal Hygiene – bathing, grooming, nail care, and oral care
- Dressing – ability to make clothing appropriate clothing decision (corresponding with the weather), physically dressing and undressing
- Eating – ability to feed self
- Toileting – mental and physical ability to use the restroom, getting on or off the toilet, cleaning self after toileting
- Transferring & Mobility – going from a seated position to standing or lying position to seated, as well as moving from one location to the next by walking or using assistive devices (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)
There are three tiers for determining the level of care your loved one may require. The High Tier requires a full-time caregiver to provide care 40 hours per week. The Medium Tier requires 25 hours per week for caregiver assistance, and the Low Tier requires only 10 hours per week of personal care.
Benefits Received for Veteran Family Caregiver
The primary caregiver will receive a monthly stipend based on the tier assigned and determined by the VA Health Administration Center (HAC). This does not make the caregiver an employee of the VA and it is not intended to replace earned income for the family caregiver. The monthly stipend is a benefit from the VA and is not taxable income.
Other benefits the primary caregiver may be eligible for include:
- Caregiver Training and Education
- Travel and lodging financial assistance when traveling with the veteran to receive care
- Access to healthcare benefits through the Civilian Health & Medical Program of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (CAHMPVA), if family does not already qualify
- Mental health services and counseling
- Up to 30 days a year of respite care
Under the 2018 VA Mission Act the expansion for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers will begin once the VA provides certification of implementing the required Information technology (IT). The VA will expand the program in two stages. The first stage will qualify veterans who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975. The second stage expected to take place in two years after the first stage is in effect. This will qualify veterans who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty after May 7, 1975, until September 10, 2001.