It is important to recognize and honor the sacrifices that our country’s veterans have made, but, it is equally as important to connect veterans with support and resources no matter when they served. Did you know, for example, that the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay family caregivers to provide care services for injured, disabled, or elder veteran loved ones? That is no small perk, especially considering that the VA estimates more than 5.5 million family members and friends are currently providing care for veterans in need.
One such program, the Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services, offers a paid family caregiver benefit. This program is part of the Veterans Health Administration’s standard medical benefits package, and all enrolled Veterans are eligible if they meet the clinical needs criteria. Through enrollment in this program, eligible veterans of all ages have the opportunity to receive both in-home and community-based care. The veteran, as the health care consumer, can even direct some of his or her care services to hire a family member to be his or her caregiver.
Another benefit of the program is that it allots a flexible budget for health services that can be managed by either the veteran or a family caregiver. This flexibility can allow vulnerable veterans to remain living in their homes or in a community residence, and keeps them out of a more institutional setting. This may help bring both the veteran and his or her loved ones some peace of mind.
We know that every veteran may require a different type of care. This is why you may wish to consider this program for your loved one. It can be of great benefit to veterans who need skilled health services, case management, and assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, getting dressed, fixing meals, and taking medicines. Program funds can also be used to support veterans who may be isolated, or whose caregiver is overly burdened.
It is important to keep in mind that this program is relatively new, but despite its novelty, it aims to provide veterans and their caregiver more access, choice, and control over their long term care services. For example, veterans can now:
Hire their own personal care aides, which can include a family member or friend.
Decide what mix of services will best meet their needs.
Buy items and services that will help them live independently.
The VA increasingly recognizes the selfless contributions made by family caregivers to ailing and elderly former service members. Providing a financial stipend as part of the department’s directed-care program is yet another way that your loved one can get the most out of their VA health benefits.
“Caregivers make tremendous sacrifices to address the daily needs of veterans who served our nation,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said after announcing National Family Caregivers Month. “These mothers, wives, fathers, husbands and other loved ones deserve our recognition and support for all they do to care for veterans.”
We know how important it is to provide support to our veterans and their loved ones. If you have questions about VA health benefits and paid family caregiving, do not wait to contact our office. We are the experienced and accredited VA attorneys here to help you.