FAQ: Caregiving for a Veteran

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For additional information, please also visit Caregiving and Veterans.

Q: Is there someone I can call to discuss questions I have about Caregiving for a Veteran?
Yes. The toll-free National Caregiver Support Line 1-(855-260-3274), is staffed by licensed professionals who will answer questions, listen to your concerns, and assist you to connect with the VA Caregiver Support Coordinator where you live.  The Support Line is staffed from 8am to 8pm Monday -Friday. 

Q: Where can I find information online about the Veteran's Administration (VA) services for those caring for a veteran?
You can find useful information by visiting the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs Caregiver Support website.  A Caregiver Support Coordinator 'look-up' feature by zipcode is available on the site.  

Q: What Caregiver programs and services is my family eligible for through the VA?
The VA recognized the work of family caregivers who care for those who have "borne the battle" from all eras.  Several support and services including but not limited to: caregiver consultation, education and training, home and community based health care for the veteran, and respite for the caregiver, are available from the VA.  Under the "Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010," additional VA services are available to seriously injured Post-9/11 Veterans and their Family Caregivers through a new program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

Q: Can I apply for the Post-9/11 program online?
Yes. You can download a copy of the Family Caregiver Program application (VA 10-10CG) from the Veteran's Affairs web site. Follow the eligibility determination questions for access to the application.

Q: Does the VA check-up on care provided to the Post-9/11 Veteran recipients?
Yes. The VA is required to monitor the well-being of each veteran participating in the program. The VA may conduct home visits, and if required make necessary corrective steps (additional training, or suspend or even revoke formal certification under the program).

Q: How can I be paid to be a Caregiver of a Veteran?
Advocates are working to gain funding for stipends for caregivers of all era Veterans. At present though, only caregivers of Post-9/11 Veterans can apply to be paid.  The amount of the stipend is based on the amount and degree of personal care services provided (with payment at approximately the same rate paid an individual providing such services through a commercial home healthcare agency in your area).

Q: Is getting the Post-9/11 Veteran stipend for the Caregiver automatic?
No. An eligible veteran and caregiver must jointly apply to participate in the program. The VA will determine that providing support services to an approved caregiver is in the "best interest of the eligible veteran."

Q: How can I know if I'm eligible for the Post-9/11 stipend?
An eligible veteran is a veteran (or service member undergoing medical discharge) who has a serious injury (including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma, or other mental health condition), incurred in the line of duty, in active service on or AFTER September 11, 2001, AND who needs personal care services because of an inability to perform one or more activities of daily living, or a need for supervision or protection based on the effects of injury or impairment. (NOTE: caregivers of veterans injured prior to 9/11 may be eligible for some VA assistance under another provision of this law).

Q: What are some examples of the approved Caregiver benefits for the Post 9/11 Program?

  • Training and education
  • Technical support to assist with questions on caregiving
  • Counseling and mental health services
  • Respite care (30 days annually, including 24 hours in-home respite care)
  • Lodging and subsistence payments when you accompany the veteran on medical care visits
  • CHAMPVA program (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran's Affairs), if not covered by another plan.

Q: Can a caregiver be a family member?
Yes. A caregiver may be either a family member (parent, spouse, child, step-family member, extended family member) or an individual who is not a family member, but who lives with the veteran.

Q: Is the caregiver employed by the VA?
No. The injured veteran has the choice whether or not to participate in the program, and who will be his/her primary caregiver.

Q: What if a veteran cannot make a decision?
The VA may appoint an individual to make such decisions on the veteran's behalf.

Q: What if I cannot do all the caregiving the veteran requires?
The VA is authorized to provide other approved family caregivers with training and education, technical support, counseling and lodging and subsistence. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) and the Office of Care Coordination (OCC) have joined together to form the Caregiver Support Network to prepare volunteers to assist primary caregivers of veterans. Your VA Case Management Team is trained to assess veterans and caregiver needs then locate resources to meet those needs.

Q: How will I attend trainings if I am the primary caregiver?
The VA is authorized to provide respite care to the eligible veteran, while their primary caregiver is receiving instruction or training. Educational sessions are made available both in person and online.

Q: Are there transportation services to medical appointments especially if I live in a rural area?
Yes. The VA is required to provide a grant program for veteran service organizations to provide transportation options to veterans of all eras living in rural areas. The VA will partner and coordinate with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Indian Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services, to expand services to rural communities.

Q: Can I utilize local non-VA agencies such as community mental health centers?
Yes. Especially if you reside too far from a VA Medical Facility.

Q: Are there any other suggestions on where I might call for help in my community?
You may want to contact county information and referral services, senior centers, area on aging, family services agencies, caregiving or disability advocacy rights groups, for example, a local Independent Living Resource Center. In 23 states and the District of Columbia the VA is partnering to offer Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services program, which gives veterans greater flexibility over what services they choose. You can read more about the program here.

Q: How can I pay for Long term Care for a veteran?
The Veterans Administration's Aid & Attendance Program offers assistance to eligible veterans and their spouses, or surviving spouses. Wartime veterans and surviving spouses may qualify for up to $1,644 monthly or $1,056 monthly respectively to pay for long-term care expenses. For a couple (married veteran and spouse), the benefit is $1,949. There are also benefits available for the spouse of a veteran, even if the veteran is still alive but will not be living in the assisted living facility. The program has financial eligibility rules for income and assets.

Q: Where can I read about the laws surrounding veterans and caregiving?
Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Public Law 111-163 amends Title 38 of the United States Code- Veterans Benefits Title 1, Caregiver Support, SEC. 101; Assistance And Support Services For Caregivers. You can download a document (PDF) detailing this Act from the U.S. Government Printing Office web site.

For more information go to the Veteran Aid web site.

Revised: 4/15/2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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