Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
In October 2020 the Veterans Administration expanded the eligibility of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to Veterans of earlier eras.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2014, 28.8 percent of all Veterans had some type of disability and 19.6 percent of all Veterans had a VA service-connected disability rating. Those numbers paint a dismal picture for those sacrificing and serving this nation. When they return home, they need a system of support and care so that none will be left behind.
What Does the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Entail?
In dire situations, there are times a returning Veteran cannot care for themselves and need to have a full-time caretaker. This program has been instituted as a support system to aid those caring for them.
After applying the Veteran can select a single primary and one or two secondary caretakers to support the primary caretaker. The support services offered are dependent on the type of caregiver.
There are requirements that must be met as a caregiver as well as separate ones for the Veteran looking to be admitted to the VA Caregiver Program.
Requirements for the Veteran’s Eligibility
There is a collection of specific details that relate primarily to care needs and service dates that determine eligibility for the Veteran to enter into the program.
- Veteran or member of the armed forces undergoing medical discharge
- A serious injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty
- Program expansion now includes eligible Veterans who served on or before May 7, 1975
- Effective October 1, 2022 the Program will include eligible Veterans who served between May 7, 1975 and September 11, 2001
- In need of in-personal care for a minimum of six continuous months
- Inability to perform an activity or activities of daily life
- A need or needs for supervision, protection, or instruction
- The program is in the best interest of the individual
- Personal care services will only be provided by the family caregiver and not from another individual as well
- Veteran receives care at home or will do so if the VA designates
Health care does not always mean physical care and what is referred to as ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). Depending on the severity of injuries and the assistance needed with these tasks, support will scale. Sometimes well-being isn’t always seen and needs to be prepared for and determined.
Requirements for Family Eligibility
Some specific requirements must be met by the caregiver as well before they can be named an appropriate primary or secondary caregiver.
- 18 years of age or older
- Must have a specific relationship with the Veteran
- Spouse, son, daughter, parent, or extended family
- Lives with full-time or will when designated
- Pass an assessment by the VA and complete caregiver education and training
If there are concerns or questions, support coordinators are available to help with the applications and the various steps of the process.
After preliminary acceptance into the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, each caregiver must complete a training program to finalize acceptance.
This training can be completed online through the National Caregiver Training Program (NCTP). They provide a student dashboard that includes the course as well as a Resource Library. To complete the training a final assessment must be passed.
The training can also be received by mail and printed materials.
Tiers of Support
A PACT or patient aligned care team at your specific VA medical center will evaluate the level of care needed, once applications are filed and accepted. After this evaluation placement will be made in one of two levels. The VA recently moved from three tiers to two levels.
- Level 2: to be eligible the Veteran must be determined to be unable to self-sustain in the community. The stipend amount will be 100% of the monthly stipend amount.
- Level 1: if the Veteran is not determined to be unable to self-sustain the stipend amount will be 62.5% of the monthly stipend amount.
Support Offered to the Caregiver
The primary caregiver is entitled to various resources and services. They include but are not limited to;
- Monthly stipend, as mentioned
- Health insurance is available through the Department of Veteran Affairs CHAMPVA program
- Travel benefits when traveling to and from appointments with the Veteran
- Mental health counseling. This can help deal with caregiver stress.
- No less than 30 days of respite care.
There are regular updates and information that can be found on the Caregiver Support Pages.
Applying for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
If that is not an option for you or you would prefer a different method to apply, you can download the appropriate form and mail it to:
Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Road NE, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329-1647
Your final option is filing in person at your local VA medical center, use the same form that you would be mailing. Bring the completed VA Form 10-10CG to your local VA medical center's Caregiver Support Coordinator.
To find the local Caregiver Support coordinator:
- Go to the VA Caregiver Support Coordinator directory, or
- Call the Caregiver Support Line at 855-260-3274
It is important to note, that you do not have to have secondary caregivers but any time you wish to add a secondary the new caregiver must submit a new application along with a new application with the veteran.
They cannot simply just add on the new caregiver to the existing group of people.
Supporting Veterans and Caregivers
This program is here to offer support to Veterans and their caregivers. The sacrifice and service that has been rendered deserve care when you return home. No one should be left behind in a time of need or potential crisis.
Be sure to apply and take full advantage of these programs. They are here to help!