New caregiver benefits from the VA are in process for over 1000 applicants already, starting May 9, 2011. These benefits are for caregivers of severely disabled veterans targeted at primary family caregivers of eligible post-9/11 veterans.
Included in these benefits are a stipend, mental health services, access to health care insurance if they have no other options, travel costs, training, counseling and respite care.
Veterans are eligible for the program if they suffered a traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma or other disorder incurred or aggravated on or after September 11, 2001. The veteran in question must be in need of personal care services.
These services must be warranted because the veteran has an “inability to perform one or more activities of daily living and/or need supervision or protection based on symptoms or residuals of neurological impairment or injury.” The veteran must first be enrolled in the VA medical healthcare system.
The program is part of the 2010 Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. While the meat of this bill is focused on this newer generation of disabled veterans, caregivers of other vets from previous generations can also receive certain benefits. Unfortunately, this is yet another example of not all veterans being treated equally, but at least some vets will be getting help.
Applications to the new VA program can be made in four ways: 1) toll-free 800-827-1000, 2) in person at VA medical centers throughout the U.S., 3) by mail or 4) online. Please check out http://www.caregiver.va.gov/ for more details.