Final Rules for Caregiver Program Set: Applications Open

Yesterday, May 3rd, 2011, the VA announced the finality of the rules for the new Caregiver Program and said that they will begin taking applications from veterans and their families to receive benefits under this program.  The application becomes available for download on May 9, 2011. The announcement of an improved Caregiver benefits program was first received with much excitement in the veteran community.  That was in late 2010.  Until now, the VA and committees in Congress have been debating back and forth on the exact benefits and eligibility criteria for veterans asking for this benefit.  They have finally come to a decision, although don’t be surprised if some details should change.  The VA Press Release talks about this development as the “final interim rule” on the Family Caregiver Program.

A specific point of note is this: caregiver benefits are available for all veterans, of any age, war, or era.  These new provisions, though, are only for veterans of wars after September 11, 2001.  If you or your loved one is a veteran from wars prior to 9/11, visit here to find more information about the caregiver benefits for which you might be eligible.  Alternatively, the Caregiver Support Line is available for information, resources, and services.  The number is 1-855-230-3274.

The biggest concern for veterans who wish to apply for the new benefits are the eligibility criteria.

The Veteran must:

*Have sustained a serious injury including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma, or another mental disorder which was created by or aggravated during service.  The injury(ies) must have happened on or after September 11, 2001.

*Be in need of personal care services due to an inability to perform one or more daily life activities.  These activities are things such as eating, bathing, or grooming. Also qualifying is the veteran’s need for supervision or protection due to dangers created in the presence of the injury or disability.

*Be enrolled in VA Health Services.  If the veteran is not already enrolled in the VA Health Care System, an application for that (VA Form 10-10 EZ) can be completed and submitted concurrently.  The application for the Caregiver Program is VA Form 10-10 CG.  This form will be available for download at the Caregiver website starting May 9th.  Additional help with this application can be gained by calling 1-877-222-8387.

The application requires input and signatures from both the veteran (or a legal representative) and the intending Family Caregiver.  To submit the application, either walk into a local VA Medical Center, or for quicker processing, mail it to:

Family Caregivers Program

Health Eligibility Center

2957 Clairmont Road NE

Suite 200

Atlanta, GA 30329-1647

Following submission of the application, the family can expect contact from the veteran’s local VA Medical Center.  The Caregiver Support Coordinator will arrange for the intending Family Caregiver to schedule mandatory training.  The veteran will be required to complete a clinical eligibility assessment, which measures what assistance the veteran needs in his or her daily activities, or the need for supervision or protection.  If the veteran is determined to meet all criteria, the Family Caregiver is expected to complete training via on site classrooms, online training, or a self-study workbook and DVD.

After all this is completed, a home visit takes place to ensure that the home of the veteran and caregiver is adequate to the veteran’s needs.  At the conclusion of all these requirements, the Family Caregiver will begin receiving a monthly allowance from the VA.  The amount is based on the veteran’s level of need for assistance.  The allowance will be paid retroactively from the date of the application submission.

The Family Caregiver may be eligible to receive health insurance via CHAMPVA if they do not already have private health insurance.

View the VA Press Release here.


Photo thanks to Brian_Fornear under creative common license on Flickr.


8 thoughts on “Final Rules for Caregiver Program Set: Applications Open”

  1. “A specific point of note is this: caregiver benefits are available for all veterans, of any age, war, or era. These new provisions, though, are only for veterans of wars after September 11, 2001. If you or your loved one is a veteran from wars prior to 9/11, visit here to find more information about the caregiver benefits for which you might be eligible.”

    Is this a contradiction of terms or what? Sort of like “military intelligence.” Once again, Vets from other eras have been left out in the cold. I guess they figured the rest of us are so old that we’ll all be dying off soon anyway. This is a real slap in the face to the rest of us who served prior to 9-11.

    1. I do agree with what you are saying, my fiance served for this country about 15 yrs or so ago, he gets a monthly check. But, it seems that guys/girls who served before 9/11 are getting screwed out of the situation and it’s not right at all. Why do the people who served on 9/11 get better treatment when there are others who have served prior to that, that also need help.

  2. It does seem strange, doesn’t it. I believe (my opinion of course, not the VA) that the new benefits only add the existing benefits. The effect is to give more help to these younger veterans as they return from the war and are unable to care for themselves, whether it be permanently or just for a period of time.

    Caregiver benefits for veterans who served prior to 9-11 don’t have this restriction. The most similar benefit is Aid and Attendance and Housebound. AA is an allowance to provide for the costs of having a family member required to remain at home, without a job, to care for a veteran. This is regardless of age or service dates.

  3. Does the person who needs caregiving need to be a veteran, or would this also apply to a veteran who is a care giver for his spouse>

  4. My best friend was abused by a Caregiver in this prgraom. The VA did not do a back ground cehck on caregivers for my closest friend. His caregivers, a husband and wife, had several domestic violence incidents with police calls. The caregiver proclaimed he had PTSD and in blind. He had been arrested for these and other acts of violence. The caregiver had been locked up in a psychiatric facility, around Pueblo, CO, the month before he took my brother into his home. The caregiver took my 18 year old son shooting, while intoxicated and while drinking alcohol. The caregiver left a syringe filled with Morphine in our Jeep, after taking my son shooting.

    Plus, once he moved into his Caregiver’s home, he stopped going to his Primary Care Provider from Tricare whom had seen my brother for 2 years and through 3 months of a stroke hospitilization. The medicine he was on was stopped including ones to prevent his strokes, promote better breathing and help his bleeding ulcers. I mention this as he was hospitalized repeatedly for his stomach and repeat strokes. However, the VA did not investigate his repeat hospitalizations for signs of abuse. My brother stopped his occupational therapy, physical therapy, and hand therapy the second he moved into the caregiver’s home. He completely stopped his rehabilitation for his stroke with no notice. There was a prescription for more pain medication, through an outside Tricare pharmacy, when the VA was already prescribing pain medication.
    His mother used to receive frequent calls until he moved in with the caregiver. Those calls became abrupt and monthly. His beautiful adult daughter and granddaughter never heard from him again when he moved in with these caregivers. The love of his life never heard from him again. He raised her adult children, and they never heard from him again. I helped this veterans send Easter cards to his Grandchildren. I also saw the money he spent on Christmas 2010 for those children. The joy these people brought him and he never heard from them again the second he moved in with these caregivers. Cutting someone off from the people he loves is a sign of ABUSE.

    So, beware when someone you lvoe chooses a caregiver. Abuse can happen.

  5. clinton ballard

    what does a veteran do who meets all the qualifications, is 100% service connected, has multiple DR’s that all say document that there will be no coming back physically from this, but has been denied 2x’s? I am speechless, my fiance has had to stop working to be with me to help me along everyday with all the hurdles that are “everyday life” for most, but for me is a “no-go”. I cannot fully dress… cook, clean, and most times stand on my own, but i am denied for this…. what do I do?

  6. If anyone has a problem contact your VA Care Giver Coordinator currently all VAMCs are requiered to have a coordinator on staff. Mine has been extremely helpful and I wish you all the best of luck.

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