Many of us have loved ones who are Veterans. Depending on their specific circumstances, we understand that Veterans can have more complex care needs than the rest of us. But did you know that the government may pay you to take care of them?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a range of services and programs that can help Veterans, the surviving spouses of Veterans, and their caregivers to access care services, benefits, and payments for providing care. Below we break down three different programs the VA provides, so you can determine your loved one’s eligibility.
Who is Considered a Veteran?
More people qualify as Veterans than you may think. For starters, if your loved one served on active duty during wartime in the United States Armed Forces, they are likely to be considered Veterans. But others who served are also entitled to benefits, including reservists and National Guard members, government workers, merchant marines, and even airline crews.
Furthermore, some people who were previously refused benefits may now be eligible for reconsideration. Veterans who were unfairly discharged due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or mental health status may be entitled to benefits and even back pay. Talk to your loved one about their military service: you may be surprised by what you discover.
Veterans Affairs Programs that Pay Caregivers
Aidaly has found three programs that Veterans and their caregivers are likely to qualify for.
- Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
- Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance
- Home and Community Based Services
Let’s walk through what each program provides and determine who may be able to qualify for it. We recommend contacting your local VA branch for any questions or clarification, as resources and programs may differ slightly from state to state.
1. Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) can provide those who are caring for an eligible Veteran (a Veteran who was injured or contracted a serious illness in the line of duty) with a monthly stipend of up to $2,750.
Under the program, Veterans can designate one person as their primary family caregiver and choose up to two secondary family caregivers who can stand in for the primary caregiver when needed.
In addition to the stipend, the assistance program can provide: health insurance to those without access to it through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs; mental health counseling; travel benefits when accompanying the Veteran to appointments; and respite care.
PCAFC is the broadest assistance program available through the VA. Learn more about PCAFC here.
2. Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance
If you are caring for a Veteran who already receives or is eligible for a VA pension, they may qualify for additional benefits and allowances that can increase the standard pension payment amount.
Aid and Attendance Benefits are available for Veterans who need help with daily activities, need to stay in bed due to an illness, are in nursing homes, or have limited eyesight. The Aid and Attendance Pension can provide up to $2,431 per month to pay for a Veteran’s care funding which can be spent on paying family members for their caregiving services.
Housebound Allowances are available for Veterans who spend most of their time at home because of a permanent disability, which must be rated as 100% disabling. Be aware that you can’t receive both the Aid and Attendance benefits and the Housebound benefits at the same time. For more information and eligibility advice, click here.
3. Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and Veteran-Directed Care
The VA offers Veterans access to various services designed to allow them to remain in their own homes instead of moving into a nursing facility. Services include home health visits, adult day programs, homemaking services, and respite care. Check with your local VA branch to determine which services are available in your area.
A special program under the HCBS is the Veteran-Directed Care Program which allows Veterans to work with a budget provided by the VA. Veterans can use this money to hire their own caregivers — which can include family members. This program is intended for Veterans who require care or need help with the basics of daily living. Learn more about the program here.
Veterans in this position don’t have to be fully disabled but may need assistance bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, cooking meals, and shopping for groceries. The benefit of the VDC program is that it allows Veterans to take control of their monthly care budget, meaning they can select a family caregiver to provide their care and pay them an hourly rate determined by the VA (usually between $8-$21 per hour).
Aidaly Honors Veterans and Their Caregivers
Because of their service and sacrifice for their country, Veterans and their surviving spouses can access a range of benefits that civilians don’t have access to. From discounts and tax exemptions to benefits and allowances, a range of programs are available to help veterans remain in their homes, retain their independence, and employ their own family members as caregivers.
At Aidaly, we can help you determine which programs your loved one may be eligible for and connect you with a supportive community of fellow caregivers. Contact our team today to get started.
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