The Veterans Administration recognizes that family caregivers in a home environment can enhance the health and well-being of veterans. Family caregivers provide crucial support in caring for veterans.
The Primary Family Caregiver Stipend program originally was set up and designed for post-Sept. 11 disabled veterans. In a recent news release, VA announced that this program soon might be available to all disabled veterans of any age or time frame.
A Primary Family Caregiver Stipend is monetary compensation paid to a family caregiver for providing personal-care services to an eligible veteran enrolled in the caregiver program. This stipend is not intended to replace career earnings, and receipt of the stipend does not create an employment relationship between VA and the primary caregiver.
Who Is Eligible?
Those who sustained a serious injury – including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma or other mental disorder – incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
They also must need personal-care services because of an inability to perform one or more activities of daily living and/or need supervision or protection based on symptoms or residual impacts of a neurological impairment or injury.
To be eligible, veterans must be enrolled for VA health services.
There can be only one primary family caregiver designated at a time, and only the VA-recognized primary caregiver of an eligible veteran can receive a stipend. The stipend is a VA enhanced service and is not considered taxable income.
The amount of the stipend a caregiver receives is based on the weekly number of hours of personal-care services a veteran requires. The Patient Aligned Primary Care Team (PACT) at your assigned VA medical center will make this determination after evaluating the veteran.
The PACT will provide a clinical evaluation of a veteran’s level of dependency, based on the degree to which the eligible veteran is unable to perform one or more activities of daily living, or the degree to which the veteran is in need of supervision or protection based on symptoms or residual impacts of neurological or other impairment and injury.
Based on the clinic evaluation and score, the eligible veteran will be rated as High Tier, Medium Tier or Low Tier. The VA medical center will perform the administrative process for the stipend using the PACT tier-level determination to calculate the stipend and will make the recurring monthly payments.
The caregiver support line provides information about the program along with eligibility information. Call (855) 260-3274. You also can visit the program website at www.caregiver.va.gov.
For information about processing activities for the stipend benefit, call the VA Health Administration Center at (877) 733-7927 or visit its website at www.va.gov/hac.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.