THE VA CAREGIVER SUPPORT PROGRAM: A VALUABLE TOOL FOR VETS & CAREGIVERS
By Buddy Blouin
Since 2011, the VA Caregiver Support Program has been helping tens of thousands of Veterans, their caregivers, and their families receive the support and healthcare they need and deserve. More than 33,000 Vets use the program which provides valuable resources throughout the United States at each VA location. If you or a loved one is in need of additional support, the Caregiver Support Program from the VA is an invaluable resource for the military community.
What Is the VA Caregiver Support Program?Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system can access caregiver support services through the Department of Veteran Affairs' (VA) Caregiver Support Program (CSP). The CSP’s goal is to help the health of family caregivers assisting Veterans. This goal is reached by providing support, services, education, and resources. You can find a CSP team at each VA facility. The CSP consists of two separate programs to better serve the Veteran community:
Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS)The PGCSS is the key component of the VA's CSP. Caregivers of Veterans are provided with peer support mentoring, skills training, coaching, telephone support, online programs, and referrals to resources. A caregiver must be receiving assistance from the Veteran in order to participate in the VA's health care program.
Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)The PCAFC provides clinical support and services to caregivers of Veterans eligible for the program who are suffering a serious injury or illness and require in-person care. Other requirements may also apply.
Who Qualifies for VA Caregiver Support Program?The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers from the VA provides an extensive outline of the qualifications for the VA Caregiver Support Program for both those providing caregiving and Veterans:
CaregiversCaregivers must be 18 years old or older to qualify. They must also either be a spouse, son, daughter, parent, stepfamily member, or extended family member of the Veteran or live with the Veteran full-time or be willing to as they assume this role.
VeteransFor a Veteran to qualify, they must have all of the following:
- A VA disability rating (individual or combined) of 70% or higher.
- Service-connected disabilities must have been caused or made worse by their active-duty service during one of these periods of time on or after September 11, 2001, or on or before May 7, 1975.
- A Veteran will need to have been discharged from the U.S. military or have the date of a medical discharge.
- You’ll also need a history of continuous, in-person personal care services for a minimum of 6 months.
How to Apply for VA Caregiver Support ProgramIf you’re looking to enroll in the program, you have many options. Veterans and caregivers can receive benefits after applying in the following ways:
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