On May 9, the VA will open the application process for eligible post-9/11 Veterans and Service Members to designate their Family Caregivers who will be eligible to receive a host of benefits. Benefits for the family caregiver may include a stipend, mental health services, access to health care insurance (if not already covered under a plan), care training and medical support. These enhanced benefits represent the implementation of the “Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010”, Title I, Caregiver Support, Section 101: Assistance and Support Services for Caregivers” passed last May 2010.
The VA is undergoing a larger organizational transformation to identify and support family caregivers throughout their system that include 153 Veterans Medical Centers and many community based service initiatives. Each of these 153 Veterans Medical Centers will have on staff a Caregiver Support Coordinator to provide support services and link to community services for caregivers. Currently caregivers of Veterans of all eras are eligible for respite care, education and training on direct care, caregiver self-care, and support groups and in-home and community based care services. Caregivers can now call a National Caregiver Support Line for information about all of the services available to Veterans and Service Members.
We applaud the implementation of these expanded benefits for family caregivers of post-9/11 Veterans and the system transformation taking place within the VA regarding increased support for caregivers. Taking the best of the practices learned throughout the years of research in this area, the VA is taking the leadership in supporting families who care.
The VA is rising to the challenge that besets our aging society: how best do we support the family and friends who provide the majority of assistance to disabled adults. By identifying and elevating the role of family caregivers and supporting them with a significant array of community services to both increase their own capacity to care and to provide services directed at the caregiver’s own self-care needs, the VA is on the road to system transformation.
For more information, go to:
VA Caregiver Website
FCA’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): “Veterans and Caregiving”
VA Caregiver National Support Line
Plan for Implementation: Public Law 111-163