BY CHUCK BYERS, CHAIR
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
– Thomas Paine
Starting in October, caregivers of eligible veterans who served during the Vietnam War and earlier will be able to participate in the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). Currently the PCAFC provides clinical services, including a monthly financial stipend, to designated Primary Family Caregivers who provide care for those who were severely injured on or after September 11, 2001. New regulations will cover caregivers of veterans who were severely injured in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975. This new regulation further broadens eligibility by expanding the term “serious injury” to include illnesses and diseases from Agent Orange exposure.
To be eligible, veterans must meet seven PCAFC eligibility criteria, including having a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent and requiring personal care for at least six continuous months. You also must be enrolled in the VA Healthcare System. A fact sheet about PCAFC eligibility can be found on caregiver.va.gov using this link: https://www.caregiver.va.gov/pdfs/MissionAct/EligibilityCriteriaFactsheet_Chapter2_Launch_Approved_Final_100120.pdf#. You can see outside doctors for your care, but you must be seen at least once a year by your VA primary care physician. Disability ratings are assigned by the VA based on the severity of an illness and how much it decreases a veteran’s overall health and ability to function.
PCAFC, which falls under VA’s Caregiver Support Program, is completely separate from the VA Home Bound Aid Attendance Program. Expansion of the PCAFC is a result of the VA MISSION Act.
“The expanded regulation addresses the complexity and expense of keeping veterans at home with their families who provide personalized care,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. “This will allow our most-vulnerable veterans to stay with their loved ones for as long as possible.”
The Veterans Health Care Committee will be conducting seminars for VVA members on this new program to help everyone fully understand these new benefits. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me