May 4, 2011 ShareThis
Caregivers like Rosie Babin, seen here with her son Alan Babin, a seriously disabled veteran of the Iraq War, may be eligible for a stipend, mental health services and access to health care.
The VA has published the interim final rule for implementing the Family Caregiver Program that was authorized by Congress last year and will begin taking applications from eligible veterans effective May 9.
The new rule was published May 3 and has a 60-day comment period. It provides additional support for eligible post-9/11 veterans who elect to receive their care in a home setting from a primary caregiver. The VA’s Office of Care Management and Social Work will begin taking applications next week from eligible veterans and servicemembers so they may designate their family caregivers. VA expects the first benefits to be delivered in July.
Veterans eligible for this program include those who sustained a serious physical injury, including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma or other mental disorder incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, on or after Sept. 11, 2001. They must be in need of personal care services because of an inability to perform one or more activities of daily living or need supervision or protection based on symptoms or residuals of neurological impairment or injury.
The additional services for primary family caregivers of eligible post-9/11 veterans and servicemembers include a stipend, mental health services and access to health care insurance, if they are not already entitled to care or services under a health care plan. Comprehensive caregiver training and medical support are key components of the program.
Effective May 9, veterans may download a copy of the Family Caregiver program application at www.caregiver.va.gov. Caregiver support coordinators are available at every VA medical center and via phone at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) to assist veterans and family caregivers with the application process.
Caregivers for veterans of all eras are eligible for respite care, education and training, meeting the veteran’s care needs and the importance of self-care when in a caregiving role. The full range of VA services already provided to caregivers will continue, and local caregiver support coordinators at each VA medical center are available to assist in identifying benefits and services they may be eligible to receive.