If you are a family caregiver for a veteran, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
Caregiver Support Program
This program supports and provides some financial compensation for family caregivers of veterans injured on active duty on or before May 7, 1975 or on or after September 11, 2001. To qualify, a caregiver must be at least 18 years old. The caregiver may be a spouse, child, parent, stepfamily, or extended family member or have lived with the veteran at application or when designated as a family caregiver. The caregiver must complete caregiver training and demonstrate core competencies, an ability to perform certain services and meet other care requirements. Stipends vary with hours of care and are based on whether the veteran is assessed to be able to self-sustain within the community. If so, the full-time stipend in, for example, Dallas, Texas, is $1,751.98/month. If not, meaning that either continuous supervision, protection and instruction is needed or that hands-on care is needed for at least three activities of daily living, the full-time stipend in, for example, Dallas, Texas is $2,803.17/month, or $33,638.04 per year, roughly comparable to the proposed $15/hour minimum wage of $31,200 for 40 hours’ work per week.
One can apply online or by downloading Form 10-1006, bringing it to the local VA med center Caregiver Support Coordinator or mailing it to Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, Health Eligibility Center, 2951 Clairmont Road NE, Suite 200, Atlanta, Georgia 30329-1647.
While few of our clients are eligible for this program, the recognition of the need for training and the low compensation provided are instructive.
Geriatric and Extended Care Aid Program
The Geriatric and Extended Care Aid Program administered through VA hospitals and provided by contracted companies, at least some of which, such as Care Planning Institute, will hire and train family members and friends to provide assistance with activities of daily living (“ADLs”) and important activities of daily living (“IADLs) for up to 20 hours per week (with no annual cap) for $13-20/hour, depending on location. There is no asset or income limit apart from a relatively high income limit at which copays may be required.
ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)
ADLs are bathing (whether bath, shower of sponge bath), dressing and grooming, using the toilet, maintaining bowel and bladder continence, getting adequate nutrition and hydration, and “transferring,” or moving from one place to another. Some people think this is just transferring from a bed to a wheelchair. A fuller definition would be being able to get up after a fall.
IADLs (Important Activities of Daily Living)
IADLs include medication management, getting to the doctor and taking notes, preparing simple meals, using the telephone, and light housekeeping.
Active, but not wartime, service is required with a discharge other than dishonorable. The assistance can be provided at home, in independent or assisted living. It can be combined with VA disability, Aid & Attendance or Medicaid. The program is for veterans only; not for spouses or surviving spouses, but can be set up within a few weeks. Clinical eligibility turns on needing substantial assistance with at least three ADLs (two if over 75, clinically depressed, or meeting other clinical requirements) and three IADLs.
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, CELA, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.