VA Expands Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
Mar 3, 2023
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 25, 2023 – On October 1, 2022, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the expansion of its Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) to veterans of all eras. Before the expansion, the program provided a monthly stipend to full-time caregivers of seriously ill or injured Veterans who served on or after September 11, 2022. The change expands the program to all qualifying Veterans, including those who served after May 7, 1975, and before September 11, 2001.
Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
Service-connected disabilities and advancing age can significantly impact veterans in the United States. In response to the growing concern for aging veterans, the VA MISSION Act was signed into law to provide veterans with more access to appropriate medical care and treatment. Through the PCAFC, the MISSION Act addresses challenges many family members encounter when caring for a disabled veteran. Such as the financial toll that family members experience when caregiving impedes their ability to maintain full-time employment.
The PCAFC addresses these issues by providing education and training, health insurance if the caregiver is uninsured, mental health counseling, monthly stipends, and respite care to qualifying caregivers of disabled veterans.
Eligibility for PCAFC
A veteran or service member may be eligible for a family caregiver if they meet the VA’s eligibility requirements. The requirements are:
The individual is a veteran or a member of the armed forces in the process of a medical discharge
The individual has a serious injury or illness that occurred or was aggravated in the line of active duty.
Under the PCAFA, a severe injury refers to a service-connected disability rated at least 70% by the VA; or is combined with any other service-connected disability, with a combined rating of 70%.
The individual required in-person personal care services for at least six continuous months.
It is in the individual’s best interest to participate in the program.
Further, the VA provides that Family Caregiver services cannot be regularly provided through another individual or entity.
The VA also explains that the Family Caregiver must meet specific eligibility requirements. These requirements require the Family Caregiver must be at least 18 years old and be the Veteran’s spouse, child, parent, stepfamily, extended family member or someone who lives with the Veteran full-time. Qualifying parties then must be assessed by the VA as being able to complete the requisite training and education and complete the caregiving training and additional care requirements.
The VA will determine a Family Caregiver’s monthly stipend by gathering information during an evaluation of the Veteran’s personal needs.
PCAFC Decisions and Options for Review
Despite the pressing need for Family Caregivers, the VA denies a significant portion of PCAFC applications. In these cases, experienced Veterans attorneys can help veterans and their family members appeal a decision.
Appeals for decisions issued before February 19, 2019, must go through the VA Evidence Intake Center or the VHA clinical review process. Whereas there are more options for review for decisions issued on or after February 19, 2019. In these cases, a veteran can appeal through:
The VHA clinical review process,
A supplemental claim
Higher-level review, or
Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals.
An attorney can help individuals determine the most effective path to relief.
Attorney David W. Magann is a Florida veterans’ benefits attorney with extensive experience handling the legal issues that many veterans face. His offices are located in Tampa and Brandon, FL. Attorney Magann is a compassionate advocate who diligently pursues the interests of his clients and provides practical advice on a variety of other pertinent legal issues, including estate planning, disability benefits, and personal injury law. Attorney Magann can be reached at https://tampaveteranslawyer.com.