The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers gives aid to eligible veterans who were severely injured on or after September 11, 2001, and who need personal care for daily activities, that include bathing and dressing, or who need protection because of impairment. The veteran’s care must be required for a minimum of six months. The compensation paid to the caregiver is based on how many hours of help per month the veteran requires by their level after a clinical evaluation.
As mentioned above, this program is offered to eligible veterans: Eligibility is as follows:
- The veteran incurred or aggravated a serious injury (including traumatic brain injury (TBI), psychological trauma, or other mental disorders) in the line of duty, on or after September 11, 2001.
- Because the qualifying serious injury, the veteran requires another person (a caregiver) to assist the veteran with the management of personal care functions required in everyday living.
- The serious injury renders the veteran in need of personal care services for a minimum of 6 continuous months based on a clinical determination that takes into account various factors.
- It is in the best inters of the veteran to participate in the Caregiver Support Program.
- The veteran will receive ongoing care from a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) or other VA health care team as a requirement for participation in the program.
- The veteran agrees to receive ongoing care at home after the VA designates a Family Caregiver.
- Personal services that would be provided by the caregiver will not simultaneously be provided through another individual or entity.
More often than not, it is one of the veteran’s primary family members who is the caregiver. After the veteran receives ongoing care from PACT, the veteran can then receive care from a family member. The caregiver eligibility is as follows:
- The caregiver must be at least 18 years of age.
- The caregiver must be either:
- The veteran’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, step-family member, or extended family member; or
- Someone who lives with the veteran full time
- The caregiver will be provided with training and must be able to demonstrate the ability to assist the veteran with personal care functions in required in everyday living, after approval to be the veteran’s caregiver.
To be considered for the program, a veteran and his or her chosen Family Caregiver must complete an application. The veteran’s local VA Caregiver Support Program and health care team completes the application process with the veteran the caregiver applicant to determine if they meet the program’s eligibility criteria. If the veteran is not approved for the program or does not agree with the level of compensation that is assigned, the veteran has the right to appeal the decision.
An appeal is a request for a review and reconsideration of the decision made by the local VA Caregiver Support Program and the Veteran’s healthcare team. There are two levels of appeals for this program. All requests must begin at the VA Medical Center where the veteran was evaluated. If the veteran is not satisfied with the decision that was made, a VA Caregiver Support Coordinator or facility patient advocate may be able to help in the process of filing an appeal.
- Level 1: The veteran files an appeal at the local VA Medical Center
- Level 2: If a veteran is not satisfied with the VA Medical Center decision, they may file an appeal with the Veteran Integrated Service Network (VISN)
The veteran and/or the Family Caregiver that applied for the program can file an appeal. Whether a decision is approved or denied, the veteran can expect a decision in writing from the VA, informing the veteran of the outcome of the appeal.