VA Works to Provide Post‑9/11 Family Caregiver Benefits

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2011 — A month after the Vet­er­ans Affairs Depart­ment began pro­cess­ing appli­ca­tions for pri­ma­ry fam­i­ly care­givers of eli­gi­ble post‑9/11 vet­er­ans, offi­cials report steady progress toward deliv­er­ing the new ser­vices and ben­e­fits.

VA began pro­cess­ing appli­ca­tions for new ser­vices May 9, four days after Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma signed the Care­givers and Vet­er­ans Omnibus Health Ser­vices Act of 2010 into law. A month lat­er, VA spokesman Drew Brook­ie report­ed 1,119 appli­ca­tions in process, with care­giv­er train­ing pro­grams already under way. Five care­givers have com­plet­ed the train­ing and require only a final VA home vis­it before they can begin receiv­ing the new enti­tle­ments, Brook­ie said.

The new law pro­vides eli­gi­ble fam­i­ly care­givers who care for severe­ly dis­abled vet­er­ans a month­ly stipend, men­tal health ser­vices and access to health-care insur­ance if they are not already enti­tled to care or ser­vices under a health plan. Care­givers also qual­i­fy for trav­el expens­es, includ­ing lodg­ing and per diem when accom­pa­ny­ing their fam­i­ly mem­ber for care, com­pre­hen­sive care­giv­er train­ing, med­ical sup­port and respite care.

The ben­e­fits extend to fam­i­ly care­givers of vet­er­ans who have sus­tained a seri­ous injury, includ­ing trau­mat­ic brain injury, psy­cho­log­i­cal trau­ma or anoth­er men­tal dis­or­der, incurred or aggra­vat­ed in the line of duty after Sept. 11, 2001. The vet­er­ans must be unable to per­form dai­ly liv­ing activ­i­ties on their own or need super­vi­sion or pro­tec­tion due to their injury or neu­ro­log­i­cal impair­ment, offi­cials explained. In addi­tion, qual­i­fy­ing vet­er­ans must be enrolled in VA health ser­vices.

After 625 vet­er­ans and fam­i­ly care­givers sub­mit­ted appli­ca­tions for the new ben­e­fits and ser­vices the first week VA began accept­ing them, VA Sec­re­tary Eric K. Shin­se­ki encour­aged oth­ers to fol­low suit.

“We are off to a good start, hav­ing helped hun­dreds to apply, but we know there are thou­sands more who will qual­i­fy and need to apply today,” he said. “I encour­age eli­gi­ble vet­er­ans and their fam­i­ly care­givers to apply now to receive the ben­e­fits they have earned.”

Of appli­ca­tions received to date, 92 per­cent have been from women — about 67 per­cent of them spous­es and 17 per­cent moth­ers, Brook­ie report­ed. Forty-five per­cent of care­giv­er appli­cants have been between ages 26 and 40, and 43 per­cent, between 41 and 64.

To date, the Fayet­teville VA Med­ical Cen­ter in North Car­oli­na, just out­side Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, has received the largest num­ber of appli­ca­tions, at 39, Brook­ie report­ed. The G. V. (Son­ny) Mont­gomery VA Med­ical Cen­ter in Jack­son, Miss., fol­lows a close sec­ond, with 31 appli­ca­tions received so far.

Oth­er top-10 VA facil­i­ties, in order of appli­ca­tions received, are Dal­las and Hous­ton, both at 26; Atlanta, at 24; Augus­ta, Ga., Durham, N.C., and Wash­ing­ton, all at 23; San Anto­nio, at 21; and Den­ver, at 20.

Brook­ie described the steps VA is fol­low­ing to process appli­ca­tions and expe­dite deliv­ery of the new ben­e­fits and ser­vices.

With­in three busi­ness days of receiv­ing an ini­tial appli­ca­tion, a VA care­giv­er sup­port coor­di­na­tor con­tacts the vet­er­an and pri­ma­ry fam­i­ly care­giv­er to com­plete the appli­ca­tion and sched­ule care­giv­er train­ing.

A VA clin­i­cal team then coor­di­nates a clin­i­cal eli­gi­bil­i­ty assess­ment. This involves deter­min­ing what help the vet­er­an needs for every­day activ­i­ties such as eat­ing, bathing and groom­ing and whether the vet­er­an needs super­vi­sion or pro­tec­tion, Brook­ie explained.

If the vet­er­an meets clin­i­cal eli­gi­bil­i­ty cri­te­ria, VA then pro­vides pri­ma­ry fam­i­ly care­giv­er train­ing. Care­givers have three ways to com­plete the train­ing: in the class­room at a local VA med­ical cen­ter or com­mu­ni­ty loca­tion, online via a secu­ri­ty-pro­tect­ed web­site, or through self-study using a work­book and DVD.

VA has kicked off the train­ing, pro­vid­ing its first class­room ses­sions for 12 care­givers June 9 and 10 for 12 in Wash­ing­ton. Addi­tion­al class­room train­ing ten­ta­tive­ly is planned for Durham; Reno, Neva­da; and Atlanta, Brook­ie said.

In addi­tion, sev­er­al care­givers are com­plet­ing their train­ing through the self-study option, which Brook­ie said is expect­ed to be revised based on the input from class­room train­ing.

The online train­ing is sched­uled to be live by June 25, he said.

After the care­giv­er com­pletes the train­ing, a VA clin­i­cian will vis­it the home to ensure the vet­er­an and care­giv­er have what they need “to be safe and suc­cess­ful in a home set­ting,” Brook­ie said. Five care­givers are now await­ing their home vis­its, he said.

The home vis­it is the last require­ment before the fam­i­ly care­giv­er begins receiv­ing a month­ly stipend, based on the lev­el of assis­tance the vet­er­an required, Brook­ie said. At that point, care­givers with­out health insur­ance may also begin receiv­ing health insur­ance ben­e­fits through VA’s CHAMPVA pro­gram.

The stipend and health-insur­ance ben­e­fits will be retroac­tive to the ini­tial appli­ca­tion date, Brook­ie said.

Shin­se­ki laud­ed the new ben­e­fits and ser­vices, rec­og­niz­ing the sac­ri­fices care­givers make every day to help their loved ones who served in uni­form. “They are crit­i­cal part­ners with VA in the recov­ery and com­fort of ill and injured vet­er­ans, and they deserve our con­tin­ued train­ing, sup­port and grat­i­tude,” he said.

Appli­ca­tions for ben­e­fits can be processed by tele­phone through VA’s Care­giv­er Sup­port Line at 855–260-3274, in per­son at a VA med­ical cen­ters with a care­giv­er sup­port coor­di­na­tor, or by mail or online at http://www.caregiver.va.gov, using VA’s new care­giv­er appli­ca­tion, VA Form 1010-CG.

VA plans to report to Con­gress in the future on the fea­si­bil­i­ty of expand­ing the enhanced ser­vices to fam­i­ly care­givers of vet­er­ans of all eras, offi­cials said.

Although some of the enhanced ben­e­fits are avail­able to pre‑9/11 fam­i­ly care­givers now, offi­cials said many of the oth­er new­ly enact­ed ben­e­fits will require new reg­u­la­tions to serve this pop­u­la­tion.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →