BRAIN WAVES

Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona Blog

VA Extends Caregiver Support Benefits

BOTTOM LINE: Caregivers of eligible veterans who are seriously injured can now apply for more benefits.

VA Extends Caregiver Support Benefits

Well, at least there’s one good story from 2020 and it started on October 1st —

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has expanded the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), based on the PCAFC Improvements and Amendments Under the VA MISSION Act of 2018.

Bottom line: Caregivers of eligible veterans who are seriously injured can now apply for more benefits.

This is a tremendous step forward for those requiring much-needed assistance. In addition to expanding eligibility, if provides for legal and financial services, as well as updating the VA’s evaluation of applications.

As the Veteran and Military Family Navigator for the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ), I’m very proud to see this kind of federal response to helping take care of our caregivers. Family members are too often underappreciated, as they make sacrifices for those who have sacrificed. This program goes a long way toward acknowledging and supporting their efforts.

At BIAAZ, we see many veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) who are frequently reluctant to seek help for symptoms. They feel guilty and ashamed and don’t want to be a burden to others. This program expansion will embolden many to ask for assistance from family members who will now be in a better position to help.

Since this is considered a VA-enhanced service, the monthly stipend is not taxable, and varies depending on the number of hours of care per week. Once approved, the stipend is retroactive to the date the application was received.

BOTTOM LINE: Caregivers of eligible veterans who are seriously injured can now apply for more benefits.

So, who qualifies? Veterans who suffered a serious injury or illness in the line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service on or after September 11, 2001, or on or before May 7, 1975, and have a disability rating of at least 70%.

Whether a veteran or somebody undergoing a medical discharge from the Armed Forces, the individual must require in-person care services for at least six continuous months. They must also be unable to perform an essential daily living activity or demonstrate a need for supervision, protection, or instruction.

The next question: Who qualifies as a Family Caregiver? In addition to ensuring that the injured person receive care at home, caregivers must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • The eligible veteran’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, stepfamily member, or extended family member, OR
    Someone who lives with the eligible Veteran full-time or will do so if designated as a Family Caregiver
  •  Initially assessed by the VA as being able to complete caregiver education and training
  •  Able to complete caregiver training and demonstrate the capability to carry out the specific personal care services, core competencies, and additional care requirements.

For more details, veterans and family members can check out these caregiver support benefits. When you’re ready to start the 10-step process, apply online here or contact the Phoenix VA Caregiver Support Coordinator at 602-277-5551 for assistance.

Again, this program’s eligibility expansion is welcome and overdue. Please take advantage of it.

For more details, veterans and family members can check out these caregiver support benefits. When you’re ready to start the 10-step process, apply online here or contact the Phoenix VA Caregiver Support Coordinator at 602-277-5551 for assistance.

Again, this program’s eligibility expansion is welcome and overdue. Please take advantage of it.

You can reach out to BIAAZ’s Veteran & Military Family Navigator, Luke Fadell at veterans@biaaz.com or call  602-316-0203

Veterans and their families are encouraged to reach out directly to Luke at veterans@biaaz.com

ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members and professionals.

What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:

  • Works with Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
  • Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
  • Hosts Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Workgroup
  • Has Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response team with peer support, training, and family wraparound services
  • Facilitates Brain Health Advisory Council
  • Manages statewide Neuro Info-Line: 888-500-9165

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