Family caregivers are often an essential part of health care for U.S. veterans. However, caring for a loved one in need can be physically, financially, and emotionally challenging. Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides several benefits designed to give caregivers the support they need.
What Are VA Caregiver Benefits?
There are several VA benefits for mesothelioma victims who served in the U.S. military, including support for a veteran’s caregiver.
VA caregiver benefits are made up of the financial, health, educational, and emotional support services that the VA provides to qualifying veteran caregivers.
The VA’s caregiver support services include:
- VA Caregiver Support Line
- Peer Support Mentoring Program
- Building Better Caregivers online workshop
- Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (CAFC)
- REACH VA mentoring with a certified coach
The VA recognizes that taking care of caregivers is a huge part of taking care of veterans.
Importance of VA Benefits for Caregivers
To provide the best care for their loved ones, caregivers must also take care of themselves. However, caring for someone who is sick or injured can be physically, financially, and emotionally difficult.
Family caregivers often face challenges such as:
- Depression and isolation
- Emotional and physical stress
- Fear of asking for help
- Financial problems
- Lack of privacy or time to themselves
- Little time for relaxation or leisure
- Sleep deprivation
According to an AARP survey, 22% of caregivers report that their health has gotten worse as a result of caregiving.
VA benefits for caregivers focus on educating and assisting caregivers in dealing with these challenges.
Who Is Eligible for VA Caregiver Benefits?
Most honorably discharged veterans qualify for some VA caregiver benefits.
However, to receive benefits through the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), the VA’s most generous caretaker program, both the caretaker and veteran must meet certain requirements.
The primary caretaker must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Turn in the Application for Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program (VA Form 10-10CG)
- Agree to perform personal care services for the veteran defined in a plan of care
- Be a member of the veteran’s family
- If not related to the veteran, live with the veteran or plan to live with them if designated as the primary caretaker
- Complete a caregiver training program
The veteran must:
- Be enrolled in a VA healthcare program
- Have a serious physical or mental injury
- Have received or worsened the injury from their active-duty service
- Have received or worsened the injury on or after September 11, 2001
- Need at least 6 months of constant supervision or help to perform basic everyday functions due to their injury
The VA provides benefits for an eligible veteran’s main caregiver and up to 2 secondary caregivers. The program is hoping to expand its offerings to caregivers looking after veterans who served at any time.
See if you qualify to access VA benefits. Contact us today.
VA Benefits for Spouse Caregiver
The VA provides spouses of veterans several benefits regardless of caregiver status.
VA benefits for spouse caregivers include:
- Health care services: Spouse caregivers may qualify for health care services through VA programs such as TRICARE, The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), and some pharmacy benefits.
- Education and training services: Spouse caregivers and a veteran’s dependent children may qualify for help paying for school or job training through the VA Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program or the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship.
- Financial programs: The VA offers life insurance options, claims, and beneficiary assistance to spouses and dependent children of veterans.
- Fisher House Program: Many mesothelioma veterans need to travel to a VA medical center for treatment. When they do, family members and caregivers are able to stay for free at a Fisher House within walking distance of the treatment facility.
VA Family Caregiver Benefits
Family caregivers are individuals who care for an ill or disabled loved one at home. Although family caregivers are usually relatives, someone who lives with a veteran while providing care may qualify as a family caregiver.
VA family caregiver benefits may include:
- Health care benefits: PCAFC provides health care benefits for qualified caregivers.
- Education: The VA provides free caregiving educational materials and training through PCAFC. They also offer a mentorship program, the Building Better Caregivers workshop, and the REACH VA coaching program.
- Emotional support: The VA provides a number of programs designed to help caregivers deal with the emotional challenges of looking after a loved one. PCAFC provides mental health services and counseling.
- Financial support: VA caregiver support programs may provide free services and medical supplies that can help caregivers financially. They also created Caring for Your Finances, a video series that assists caregivers with finance-related issues. Mesothelioma VA disability claims are often higher for veterans who need a caregiver.