VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers is Expanding CoverageTuesday, October 20, 2020
On October 1st, 2020, the VA announced the implementation of a new IT system that marked the launch of phase one of the expansion of their Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program. The first piece of the expansion gives benefits to caregivers of eligible Veterans who incurred a serious injury in the line of duty before or on May 7th, 1975. This means those who served in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II may now qualify for a number of benefits.
“Today begins the first phase of expansion of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. Through this expansion, VA is able to give more family caregivers access to essential resources so we can support them as they care for Veterans of earlier eras,” said VA Secretary, Robert Wilkie.
Up until October 1st, the program only covered caregivers of veterans who suffered a qualifying in-service injury on or after September 11, 2001. In order for coverage to apply to those that fall under these service parameters, the veteran must have a VA disability rating of at least 70% and be enrolled in VA health care.
Furthermore, in order to receive benefits the veteran must need in-person personal care for performing daily activities such as getting dressed, bathing, rooming themselves etc. They also qualify if they need supervision or instruction to be able to safely function. TBIs, major physical traumas, or similar severe injuries that require someone to help them function without danger of harm to themselves or others, all fall under the realm of qualifiable service related injuries for the program.
For the veterans that do qualify, their family members have potential access to a monthly cash stipends, covered travel expenses, access to health care insurance, mental health services, caregiver training programs, and 30 days of respite care.
The second stage of the expansion will take effect in two years on October 1st, 2022. This stage will fill in the gap and include coverage for those veterans injured between May 7th, 1975 and September 11th, 2001.
In order to handle the subsequent influx of patients that this development will cause, the Caregiver Support Program has expanded to 1,100 staff members and will continue to grow in the next six months to approximately 1,800 staff. These changes are in place to ensure that veterans and caregivers receive timely and accurate assessments and eligibility determinations as well as improved customer experience.
For more information about coverage, visit the VA’s website – https://www.va.gov/