VA Expands Military Caregiver Benefits
Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2019
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking another look at its caregiver assistance program and is asking for help from the public. The VA plans to reevaluate how to define "necessary care" and who qualifies.
Learn more about the caregiver assistance program and how you can help the VA redesign the military caregiver program so it provides a higher level of support for caregivers.
Expanding the Military Caregiver Support Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs currently offers a military caregiver support program for caregivers of qualified disabled veterans. The program offers counseling, a monthly cash stipend, respite care and training. Currently, the program is only open to family members caring for post-9/11 veterans who have a psychological trauma, a serious injury or other mental disorder as a result of military service.
However, the VA Mission Act, which became law in late 2018, is expanding the program in two stages:
- The first stage will offer family caregiver benefits to those veterans who experienced injury, a mental disorder or psychological trauma resulting from military service that happened before May 7, 1975. The first phase will occur after the VA can certify that its computer system will be able to handle processing a new influx of caregivers.
- The second phase will expand program eligibility to family caregivers of all veterans.
The Mission Act also expanded the list of qualifying veteran conditions.
Under the old law, to qualify a family member to be eligible as a caregiver, the veteran had to be unable to perform one or more activities of daily living (ADLs), need supervision or protection as a result of their impairment, or in need of care due to another serious injury.
The new law adds residual injuries and the need for “extensive instruction or supervision” for a veteran to complete an activity of daily living. The new law also adds financial and legal services as qualifying caregiver services.