Through the Department of Veterans Affairs family caregivers of seriously ill and/ or injured veterans may now be eligible to receive new and enhanced benefits. The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 was signed in May 2010 by President Obama which established new supporting services for caregivers of certain Post 9/11 veterans.
“Caregivers make tremendous sacrifices every day to help Veterans of all era who served this nation,” stated Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “They are critical partners with the VA in the recovery and comfort of ill and injured veterans, and they deserve our continued training, support, and gratitude.”
Under the new and enhanced available benefits granted by the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, caregivers of Veterans will be able to gain access to:
- The VA toll-free Caregiver Support Line 1-855-260-3274
- Education and training programs regarding caring for Veterans at home
- Counseling, support groups, and referral services
- A caregivers’ website
Caregivers of the most severely ill and injured Post 9/11 Veterans may be eligible for additional benefits. These additional VA benefits include:
- A monthly stipend
- Health care
- Respite care
- Counseling and other mental health services
- Travel expenses accrued while accompanying veterans during treatment
Although some of the benefits are available now, the benefits exclusive to caregivers of the seriously injured and ill will require the issuance of regulations. Because these benefits are designed to prevent the institutionalization of a veteran if possible, they will require stricter requirements for caregiver eligibility as stated by law.
“DAV is happy to hear that caregivers of Veterans are getting additional support and services to care for our Nation’s heroes and unprecedented new services for our most recent severely ill and injured,” stated David W. Gorman, the executive director of the Washington Headquarters of the Disabled American Veterans. “We understand there are challenges to implementing the new law; including ensuring that critically ill and injured Veterans of all eras are similarly supported.”
For caregivers interested in applying for the new or enhanced benefits while caring for their ill or injured veteran, they are advised to speak with a knowledgeable caregiver support coordinator designated to their local VA medical center.
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