Many veterans and their Family members who come into our office ask about the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program, which came about from the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010.

However, most are not aware that only veterans who served on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, can be authorized a paid Family caregiver and only when “the veteran incurred or aggravated a serious injury (including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma or other mental disorder) in the line of duty.”

 Veteran eligibility

1. The veteran incurred or aggravated a serious injury (including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma, or other mental disorder) in the line of duty, on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

2. Because of the qualifying serious injury, the veteran requires another person (a caregiver) to assist the veteran with the management of personal care functions required in everyday living.

3. The serious injury renders the veteran in need of personal care services for a minimum of six continuous months based on a clinical determination that takes into account various factors.

4. It is in the best interest of the veteran to participate in the Caregiver Support Program.

5. The veteran will receive ongoing care from a Patient Aligned Care Team or other VA health care team as a requirement for participation in the program.

6. The veteran agrees to receive ongoing care at home after VA designates a Family caregiver.

7. Personal care services that would be provided by the caregiver will not simultaneously be provided through another individual or entity.

Caregiver eligibility

1. The caregiver must be at least 18 years of age.

2. The caregiver must be either: The veteran’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, step-Family member; or extended Family member; or someone who lives with the veteran full time.

3. Prior to approval, the caregiver will be provided with training and must be able to demonstrate the ability to assist the veteran with personal care functions required in everyday living.

Veterans and Family members often confuse VA’s aid and attendance benefit with the Family caregiver program, or assume the aid and attendance benefit provides VA-paid home health care.

Aid and attendance is simply an additional monetary award given to certain veterans or surviving spouses who need assistance with the activities of daily living under specific circumstances including: A veteran or surviving spouse receiving or eligible to receive VA pension or survivor’s pension; a veteran who is receiving 100 percent permanent and total service-connected disability compensation, but only if his or she needs aid and attendance because of service-connected disabilities; a veteran who is receiving 30 percent or more service-connected disability compensation with a disabled spouse who needs aid and attendance; a surviving spouse who is receiving death and indemnity compensation because the veteran died of a service-connected disability.

For more information about the Family Caregiver Support Program, visit www.caregiver.va.gov/support/support_benefits.asp. Information on all VA benefits can be found at www.va.gov.