What is the VA Caregiver Support program?
Caregivers are an important component of long-term services and supports for veterans. The VA provides supports for caregivers of veterans of all eras of service. The VA’s Caregiver Support Line provides caregivers with important information about the types of services available to caregivers through the VA. The VA’s Caregiver Support Line, at (855) 260-3274, is monitored at all times. Or connect with a caregiver support coordinator at your local VA medical center to find out which caregiver support services include respite care and home health services for disabled veterans. More details are available at www.caregiver.va.gov - including a zip code locator to find the closest Caregiver Support Coordinator.
In 2010, Congress recognized the sacrifice family caregivers make in giving up their careers and personal time to care for veterans. Family caregivers of veterans who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and who are not already paid for their services, are eligible for caregiver training, a monthly stipend, and health insurance from the VA through CHAMPVA. To be eligible for these enhanced benefits, the veteran must have a service-connected serious injury such as a traumatic brain injury or psychological trauma. The veteran must have a need for assistance for a period of at least six months with at least one activity of daily living and/or require supervision as a result of the injury or trauma. The veteran also must be enrolled in the VA health care system to receive the benefit.
A veteran eligible for enhanced benefits may have one primary family caregiver and also may select two other caregivers. Caregivers must be at least 18 years old and be either a family member or someone with whom the veteran lives.
All caregivers also might be eligible for mental health services, training, and counseling from the VA that relate to a veteran’s treatment for service-connected disabilities, as specified in Title 38, United States Code, §1782(c).
If you do not qualify for CHAMPVA or TRICARE, you still may receive counseling from VA Vet Centers. Vet Centers are community-based treatment centers for mental health issues associated with deployment for veterans and their families. Any veteran who was deployed to a combat zone is eligible for counseling at a Vet Center, along with their family members and partners.
See the Veterans Health Administration Caregiver page or call the VA Caregiver Support Line at (855) 260-3274 to speak with a caregiver support coordinator about benefits for caregivers. There is a good basic overview of the family caregiver program for caregivers of veterans who served on active duty after Sept. 11, 2001, provided in this video by the VA Maryland Health Care System (scroll to Episode 84).
How do I apply for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (for Post-9/11 caregivers)?
The veteran must complete the caregiver program application (VA Form 10-10CG). If the veteran is not enrolled in the VA health care system, he or she also will need to complete VA Form 10-10 EZ.
The completed application should be taken either to a caregiver support coordinator at the nearest VA medical center or mailed to the Family Caregivers Program Health Eligibility Center, 2957 Clairmont Road N.E., Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329-1647.
Prior to approval, a clinical team will evaluate the veteran’s needs, and the caregiver will need to undergo training. The VA also will conduct a home visit.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Where can I get help with a mental health crisis?
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is also available.
The caring responders at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping veterans of all ages and circumstances. Some of the responders are veterans themselves and understand what veterans and their families and friends have been through and the challenges veterans of all ages and service eras face.