VA Enhances Support of Family Caregivers

Today, we, at VA, are posting the interim final rule that will allow us to roll out enhanced services, including a monetary stipend, health insurance, expanded training and other support services to a whole new category of people serving our Nation – our Family Caregivers of Veterans who sustained a serious injury in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001. This new program will offer those Veterans the ability to remain in a comforting home environment surrounded by loved ones and supported by a dedicated Family Caregiver.

VA has long known that having a Family Caregiver in a home environment can enhance the health and well-being of Veterans under VA care. Therefore, we are pleased to add this new program to the wide range of services VA already offers to support Veterans and their Family Caregivers at home. The regulation is available on our Caregiver website and the application process for the new program for post-9/11 Veterans injured in the line of duty is also described in a fact sheet. We’re excited to begin accepting applications on May 9th. Look for the application at www.caregiver.va.gov the morning of the 9th or call our Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274. We’re waiting to assist.

We know that this wait has been long for those dedicating so much to provide for nearly every aspect of their beloved Veteran’s well-being. With these resources in place, we mark the beginning of a new era in the delivery of enhanced services for Family Caregivers. Family Caregivers are our partners in providing quality care to our Nations heroes; Caregivers are the heroes on the home front.

Additionally, VA has many other programs and services already in place that support Veterans and their Family Caregivers at home. At www.caregiver.va.gov you will find a description of more than two dozen programs we offer all Caregivers, training tips and advice on care giving, including the importance of taking time to take care of yourself. All Caregivers are also encouraged to utilize the National Caregiver Support Line, 1-855-260-3274, for counseling and information about resources and services. The trained professionals who staff our Support Line will also connect you to your local VA medical center’s Caregiver Support Coordinator who stands ready to offer support and assistance as you navigate this journey of being a Family Caregiver.

We care and are eager to help. I have been with the Department of Veterans Affairs for 20 years and have worked with countless Veterans, Family Caregivers, Veteran Service Organizations, other federal, state and community agencies as well as my VA colleagues; to strengthen VA’s support for all that you do each and every day. You share our commitment to care for those “who have borne the battle.” That makes you our partners in this sacred duty and it is a relationship we at VA plan to keep strengthening for the sake of the Veterans we can all agree deserve our very best on behalf of a grateful Nation.

Deborah Amdur, LCSW, is VA’s Chief Consultant for Care Management and Social Work Service. She has overall responsibility for five national programs including: the Social Work Program, the Caregiver Support Program, the Family Hospitality Program, the Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Care Management Program and the VA Liaison Program. Ms. Amdur received her Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University and her Master’s in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis.

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79 Comments to “VA Enhances Support of Family Caregivers”

  1. Martha says:

    I do not understand why this program has singled out just post 9/11 Disabled Veterans Caregivers. There are many other spouses who are full time caregivers, giving up their careers their jobs to take care of their Disabled Veteran full time. Are they not important? Are their struggles any less? No. Is there any reason why some Veterans would get benefits that others who are just as disabled and in need of assistance from family members as those pre 9/11? There are MANY Disabled for Life Veterans who need full time care, whose families continue to sacrifice everyday for their country. To not make this available to ALL spouses who have given up so much to care for their Permanent and Total Service Connected Disabled Combat Veteran is not equal treatment of Veterans and is discrimination. Is the sacrifice of other Veteran caregivers worth less?!? Are their sacrifices any less real? I think not. My husband struggles just to breathe everyday, he has already outlived his expectations. We live with the fact that the rest of his lungs could shut down at any time. The stress and the fragility of his health is real. To say that my sacrifice of my career is not worth as much as those who were Disabled later, is just a slap in the face. All full time veteran caregivers deserve the same benefits, without prejudice.

    • Larry Potter says:

      Aid and Attendance Benefit to give money to the family to help care for the veteran has already existed. Martha — if you do not know this then file for it immediately. I am also 100% service connected, but this new idea just for 9/11 is sorry trash. Thank you Martha for defending your veteran!

    • Martha, the first thing I’d say is that we hear you. And we do recognize the sacrifices made by ALL Veterans and their families. For that reason, we offer a range of services for family Caregivers of Veterans of all eras—including Caregiver Support Coordinators in each of our VA medical centers. You can view the other services at the links in the piece above.

      But with respect to certain programs not being available to pre-9/11 Veterans, that’s a decision Congress made, though they did provide a caveat in the legislation: As written, Secretary Shinseki is required to report back to Congress within two years about whether it would be a good idea to expand these new services to Vets of all eras. So, we’ll see.

    • proud marine daughter says:

      i just wanted to say i feel your pain i am 28 and a full time caregiver for my father.my prayers and thoughts are with you.

    • Sarah says:

      My husband was wounded during WW2 he moved so fast that his papers had a hard time catching up with him. He was draffed into the Marines at a very low pay scale. A japeness Jeep ran over his leg while he was rolling over a hill side. Today he can hardly walk. Yes, the VA is taking care of him at our expenice not a free be. We have Medicare & BC/BS that is use and we pay the differnce. He gave of his time and did the job and a good job at that. I will not and let him admitted into a nursing home. Yes, it isn’t fair that one get’s help and others do not. How quick we forget it is about time that those who serve get help and respect much needed. Just look how the geatest generation has been failing it is sad. Some times I don’t know which end is up or even know how to cope. We had to deal with those silent times and now we have to deal with the pain and suffering from the cause of the war.

    • Mason says:

      This isn’t a hard question one to answer. Election/campaign season is in full swing and passing something like this wasn’t hard to get bipartisan support for. Both sides will now be able to take credit for “supporting the troops,” albeit not all of them.

      Getting back to your question as to whether-or-not the sacrifice of a caregiver to a non-post 9/11 veteran is worth less than one of a post 9/11 veteran? At least to Congress, you bet it is.

      It’s extreme frustrating knowing the politicians barely do anything personally for vets yet they speak to the masses as if they are helping build new clinics and hospitals on their free time. The VA has made some significant strides in the right direction under Shinseki (who I served under while he was 1st Cavalry’s Commander).

      For the first time in a long time, I think the VA got it right with this one. Shinseki wanted this benefit for all vets but took what he could get.

      I follow VA legislation and military policies to the point where it’s probably an unhealthy obsession. Having said that, there hasn’t been a better time for veterans and their benefits in several decades. Education, medical, travel, housing, etc. have all seen their budgets go up exponentially within the last decade. The VA (as a whole), again, for the better part of the last decade, has received more funding than they have requested. This benefit has nothing to do with how many children a caregiver may have, or the job they had to pass up and/or quit. The main part of this program is to help keep the veteran in a home with people who’d provide all kinds of support to them. I get the feeling that even if this were extended to all veterans there would still be plenty of negative stuff to say about that.

      And the point on this being another thing to divide veterans against one another kind of makes sense. It does work both ways, though. OIF/OEF veteran caregivers shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for being entitled to such a benefit. Based on the tone of some of these posts you’d think one was stealing money if they got a stipend under this program.

      I’m just playing Devils Advocate and felt it necessary to post something on this topic.

    • Corporal Saiz Marine Corps Disabled Veteran says:

      I absolutely agree and this entitlement should reflect the many sacrifices that spouses make for their veterans. Remember, without a rock and a great support system at home there would be more deceased veterans without the will to live with their loved ones. Honor our Veterans & Spouses because without this support the military will also struggle to exist. It takes a warrior to go into battle, but to go to battle with his fellow brothers at arms reassures any soldier or Marine, that he or she can return home to the love of his or her life. Semper Fidelas and God Speed!

    • Karen says:

      I have been taking care of my husband for over 7 years while his health continually gets worse! It is terminal and there isn’t a darned thing I can do about it! While in the army in Vietnam he was supplied by our government with alchol and cigarettes! It was considered part of his daily rations! When he got back to the post from the jungle, usually a two week trip, he found his supply of army issued alcohol and cigarettes in his tent! The army taught him to self-medicate to deal with stress. He has severe PTSD and from Agent Orange his lungs are dead!!! When I begin to tell his symptoms to any medical professional the first thing out of their mouths is, “Agent Orange?”!!! Americans know but the government won’t admit and my husband is running out of time. His only alternative to dying is to have BOTH lungs replaced!
      Because of a technicality; I am denied the piddly amount that the VA grants to spouses who can’t work because they are the primary caregivers. As a result of caring for him, I have not been able to work for 7 years. All my job skills are focused on my husband’s care!
      Is our government going to do to the Vietnam Vets what they did to the WWII GI’s?
      For those of you who do not know…our government and the Veteran’s Administration refused to pay all the GI’s for radiation associated illnesses, until there were only a few left alive..then they wouldn’t have such a big payout!!!
      Yes I am angry, yes I am frustrated, but I am continuing my vigil at my husband’s side, till he takes that last breath!

  2. Jason Kahl says:

    Damn the Veteran Families disabled by VA, by LAW they get JACK!

    Typical Divide and Concur, pit one group of Vets against another…No SHAME WHAT SO EVER!

  3. Jason Kahl says:

    Completely SOUL-LESS!

  4. Zac says:

    What is an interim final rule? Starting the post with such a bureaucratic term is off-putting and invites skepticism. I would recommend using language that allows people to more easily relate to your message.

  5. Margee' says:

    I don’t understand, it should be for all caregivers of a Vet.yehs

  6. Michelle says:

    I’m confused. Why does this only apply to post 9/11 veterans. Veterans injured up to 9/10/01 will not qualify while veterans injured one day later will? This makes no sense to me. My husband has been home and needed full-time care for nearly a year. The VA’s A&A program is almost a joke. First we’re told he needs A&A, but doesn’t qualify because his disability numbers aren’t high enough (even though he’s at 100% TDIU), and that he needs A&A, but can’t get it because he needs it for other than service-connected injuries (not true). Now, we’re waiting for the rater to look at the claim again. It’s “been on the rater’s desk ready for a decision” since November 29, 2010. He nearly died in January, 2011, and still we wait for the VA. And now veterans injured post 9/11 will have a new gateway for obtaining the same benefits we’re waiting for.

    Sounds like another VA snafu if you ask me.

    • DDAY says:

      Keep after them for an answer to the A&A, appeal appeal appeal—fight it. I am a vietnam era vet, bed bound from service connected injuries and I have to fight for every thing I get……get help from the DAV and any other vets group. Double check the rules and regs and site them back in your arguments. If injured on the job you would fight, the VA is no different, just harder to deal with.

      • Michelle says:

        Well, turns out his A&A was denied in September, 2010. Obviously we appealed that decision. When he nearly died in January and we submitted new evidence they did not reopen the claim, but simply added the info to the appeal. Now we are requesting that the claim be reopened and the new evidence be considered now.

        I seem to be getting very good at fighting with the VA. UGH!

    • Karen says:

      Its tought working through the VA paperwork. My husband is Total and Permanent Disabled due to PTSD and he also has partial disability in knees. The degenerative osteoarthitis is in his knees, hips, and back. Broke his hip last year and cannot get into the vehicle at all. He doesn’t qualify for A & A. But being in Vietnam he did quality for respite care. Well we got the respite care…problem is the company who is providing the respite care doesn’t have enough people to come and give moi the caregiver a break. I don’t know what is so frustrating…trying to get the respite care or having it and cannot use it. Money out of my pocket everyday I work so someone can come in and help him for a couple of hours to fix meal etc.

  7. Dan says:

    Once again the Vietnam vet is left behind. Delay, deny and wait to we die continues. I guess the VA figures that since we are dying at the rate of over 300 per day, it won’t be long until we are no longer an issue. Nothing new, we have been fighting the VA for over 40 years.

    At least I am happy that some veteran’s families are receiving help.

    • proud marine daughter says:

      i am 28 and a full time caregiver for my father who fought in vietnam. he is 100% disabled and they give him discounted meds and a small check! the docters avoid doing their jobs by telling me line after line.how do i go about getting him more money so i can take him to a good cardiologist and neurologists?. also i was told there is money available for me the caregiver and no one will respond any pointers? please help me help my hero. daddys,girl

  8. Christina says:

    What does “in the line of duty” mean? Is it service-connected disabilities or only combat related? This seems to be a terminology change in the new rule, if my memory is correct.

    • Randall Robinson says:

      The “line of duty” status is determined by the DoD – not the VA. And, the soldier does not have to be injured in combat. That is my understanding so far.

    • Tom says:

      A LOD investigation is conducted anytime a member acquires a disease, incurs a significant injury or dies under unusual circumstances. There can be one of three determinations – (1) “in the line of duty-not due to own misconduct”; (2) “not in the line of duty – not due to own misconduct”; and (3) “not in the line of duty – due to own misconduct.” It is presumed that the LOD for active-duty members suffering a disease, injury or death is “in the line of duty – not due to own misconduct.” The classification is important because a member receives full pay, allowances and benefits if the final determination is “in the line of duty – not due to own misconduct.”

      http://www.mcconnell.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123209924

  9. Ed Hill says:

    As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, I have spent the last couple years focused on research regarding properly establishing family “care agreements” (contracts that enable family members to be paid for caregiving) and coordinating those with VA benefits. This can work with non-service connected disability pension(aka Aid and Attendance) When done properly a family can use this strategy to kickstart deserved benefits up to $1949/mo. this goes for ALL wartime veterans in need of the assistance of a caregiver.
    Ms. Amdur(or anyone else for that matter), I would love to hear your thoughts on this ed@veteranltc.com

    • Chris B says:

      The people who are eligible for this benefit are most likely SC 100% with SMC R.2 (service connected Aid and attendance) and recieving compensation payments in the area of almost $8000 per month. The Non service connected benefits you discuss have little place in this conversation.

      • Ed Hill says:

        $8k/mo.? I am not sure about that…I was just touching on earlier responses voicing concerns about this particular program limiting eligibility to post 9/11 wartime veterans. My intent was to let folks know that it is still possible for wartime veterans of all eras to pay for caregivers through other VA benefits.

      • dave carmean says:

        8k a month? i need 2 move where u live. i’m 100% ptsciu and only get 2919 a month.

      • Mike says:

        Im not sure what you mean by 8k a month. I am very frustrated by that number. Through the VA rating system I am only 90% service connected. If the VA was like a normal buisness or company all my service connected disabilities add up to 140%. I was lucky emough to get unemployability so I am now 100% according to there hoky rating system. I recieve no where near 8k. Where does that figure come from. I would sure appreciate if you could tell me how to get closer to that figure. Please email me at guy0827@hotmail.com. thank you.

    • Michelle says:

      Ed, is this only for wartime veterans? What if the veteran’s srevice time is not considered “wartime”?

  10. G. Perkins says:

    Make it equal for all, or don’t do it all. Every Veteran that is suffering now because of their service deserves the same. This decision is so biased and unfair to all the Veterans of other theaters of war.

    • Randall Robinson says:

      IMO the BEST way to kick the pants of expanding the Cargiver Benefit to all eras would be to organize and contact your congressperson. They are the ones that made the rule and they are the ONLY ones that can expand it sooner than the 2 years that have been written into the current legislation. I would LOVE to see organized veterans of all eras (and their caregivers) start publicly pressuring Congress to modify the rule. That is the only thing that will make a difference.

  11. J says:

    Where is there the link to the interim final rule as published in the Federal Register? There is no such link on http://www.caregiver.gov

  12. Virginia Williams says:

    caregivers? I have been taking care of my disabled husband who was shot in Viet Nam, sent home with nothing and now at age 60 is so tired of fighting that he has given up everything…deny, deny, until they die!!!!!!!!!! our email addy is williams070707 at yahoo dot com if you have anything to say…….after 40 years, and walking with a cane, a rash all over his body they say total of 40%………….where are the vets rights now?

  13. Anna Kobuki says:

    I agree with martha but I would like to point out that at least spouses get benefits that other family members do not have. My brother is 100+ persent service connected but was only 20
    and unmarried at time of diability. I am his sister and chose to take care of him for life giving up not only a great career to do so but most importantly medical, and my pension that I was building. I worry about medical every day and I worry about my future because at some point in time when he dies because I am a sibling and not a spouse or parent I will get no further help. It is sad to say that my brother could marry a stranger and she would get all the spouse benefits with no problems. Oh and let me point out that that this new program applies to same sex partners for post 911 veterans which I have no problem with but still siblings are left out. I believe this new legislation also even gives benefits to over 55 opposite sex unmarried caregivers. I just dont get why all family memebers are not included in this legislation . For the record my brother is a pre 2001 veteran as well.

    • Christina says:

      I don’t think siblings are excluded from this particular benefit; you might want to look into this further. Also, if you live with your brother and/or transport him, etc, you might qualify to be his “representative payee.” Call your local VA and ask to be connected with the new caregiver social worker & see if he/she will guide you. Persist and GOOD LUCK!

  14. Brian S Felice says:

    I belive any Veteran benefits that are not given to all are wrong. It will become a wedge used to divide and concour piting vets against vets and it is wrong. What is happening to our veteran goups DAV,PVA,VFW and the rest.

  15. Ron says:

    Hi:All,Those that need help with Aide and Attendence Program go too:
    http://www.warvet.org-Find out who your Vso for your area is and call and make a appt.He can not charge you anything for his service and he will do all the followups on the application and its progress.If you have any questions please
    e-mail me and i’ll get back with you as soon as I can.Yes this is for care givers as well.And for non-connected Veterans.Some Dis.Vets.

    Yours In Christ
    Ron A.

    • Shirley Goins says:

      Could use some guidance. After three years of caring for a DAV without an income, it is very hard to make ends meet.

  16. James McElfresh says:

    W.W.II Vets, Korean War Vets, Vietnam Vets…back burner barbeque yet again. What is good for one generation should be good for all..it is discrimination without representation.

  17. Emil says:

    All i know am a Vietnam vet just found out i have leukemia possible side affect as presumed by VA of Agent Orange When i get real sick from a declined immune system and end up in the hospital time after time from a leg infection.My life revolves around my TV at 60 just not much trust especially
    being granted 100% by people who never saw a person die or felt their own life may end.Have experienced severe depression for years but someone in the VA regional office in Portland will not expedite my claims I guess i am of the percentage no one will help as expected after all I AM A VIETNAM VET been screwed from service on and finally recognize i have a slow brain things take a long time to get done with receiving compensation ……I’m trying to die as fast as possible poor diet no exercise just wish it wasn’t so painful

    • Jon says:

      The VA will expedite your claim if you provide documentation of either: terminal disease or financial hardship. Documentation. Saying you’re broke doesn’t cut it. If your life revolves around the TV, maybe you should incorporate some computer time, and do some research so that you know what is up with the VA. They’re not always right, but veterans do a lot to complicate their own problems.

    • Kaiamanda says:

      I am honored to care for my husband who is a disabled Veteran. I may not have seen people die or fought in a war but I have only been married for 6 years and have fought everyday for my husband since his injures occurred. My husband was recently hospitalized for his severe PTSD and I went to the VA office here everyday until they finally got sick of seeing me…then I received a letter that they are expediting his case due to the severity of his conditions. I have fought for 3 long years to get him the medical and finance assistance he deserves. I sleep 5 hours total any given week, I care for him and also our 2 small children. This program is just one of many programs to help veterans AND their caregivers. Sounds to me like you don’t have someone advocating for you and for that I’m sorry. I know your angry that this particular program isn’t going to help you but I feel like I matter too. My husband served his country for 6 years and I will spend the rest of my life thanking him for his service. If a person receives 100% their spouse and children receive certain benefits I think we should be entitled to because we are important in the care of that veteran and as long as I live I will fight for the benefits I deserve too.

      • Debra says:

        “veteran benefits not given to all is wrong”….are you kidding? This is taxpayers dollars that are in short supply these days. They can’t pay for everything.

  18. charlotte says:

    Once again, Vietnam Veterans are ignored! And a PS: The Caregiver help line is not available during late hours. ‘Nuf Said on both issues!

  19. Ann Lang says:

    What about the pre 9/11 caregivers for vets with brain injuries? When are we going to get the same benifits? My husband is a VietNam vet with a brain injury but I am not entitled to the benifits the current Vet’s caregivers are. We go through the same problems but without the benefits given to the current conflicts caregivers this is somtthing I think need to be addressed. If there is some benifitis the Sacramento and San Francisco VA sure doesn’t give out the information.

  20. Sandra T says:

    I have been married to a Vietnam veteran for 42 years. My husband spent 3 1/2 tours there as a demolitions squad leader. He has permanent & total rating with unemployability. We filed & fought the claim ourselves. Last year he was hospitalized with ischemic heart disease. So..we filed again..they rated 30%. Now here comes caregivers for ONLY POST 9/11..I would like them (Congress) to experience our lives on a daily basis. I plan to file anyway & appeal, appeal, appeal! WAKEUP, MR & MRS CONGRESS! Vietnam vets are out there too….in addition to others who served their country & are paying the price everyday..Our lawmakers really botched up this one!
    Happy to be a caregiver..(even if I’m not paid like the others)

  21. Kathy says:

    I am really saddened to read that our government which proclaims to be proud of each and every man who has served our country with honor has chosen to discriminate amongst these very men who have fought proudly for our countries and other’s freedom.
    How can this be? Our leaders have chosen to “choose” who is helped and who isn’t by this new caregiver program. Please tell me why “ALL” of the men who have honorably served our country are “NOT” included to be covered by this program? This is discrimination and shameful discrimination.
    My husband is a Viet Nam Veteran who is so sick from exposure to Agent Orange that he could die at any time.
    I as others have written am very proud to be his caregiver and will without question continue to give him my fullest attention each and everyday.
    It makes me sick to my stomach in a way though to know that you are offering all these benefits to those who are post 9/11 veterans and their caregivers and nothing for so many others as my husband and myself.
    My husband requires my full time care as his caregiver. I do not have any medical insurance now, I can not work outside the home as I am caring for my husband 24 hours a day but I guess it doesn’t matter if I stay well to take care of him or not, but then, if I get sick I guess the VA can pay a facility thousands of dollars a month to do what I am doing. He requires special food handling, diet, I prepare his medications, give him shots, take him to and from all of his doctors appointments, work with him in his recovery from his massive stroke as his teacher and since he has had a massive stroke I am the one who works with his doctors and therapists to help him.
    My husband is so sick and needs open heart surgery, so sick that we are fighting with everything we have to get him recovered and well enough that he “might” survive the surgery and have a future. This will be his 3rd major surgery trying to survive the effects of being sprayed with Agent Orange while he was stationed in Viet Nam. Two strokes, this last one massive, both legs operated on, stints, heart disease renal failure. Believe me when I tell you, his suffering is ever as great as a veteran post 9-11 if not greater then many.
    It sure would be nice to have the benefits being offered to post 9-11 veterans too. Please tell me, how did you come to the decision to discriminate? Is one honorable veteran better then the other?????? How can you so proudly post this new program without saying but excuse us we don’t don’t offer this to all of the rest of you HONORABLE VETERANS????
    I really want to know just how you came up with this decision to discriminate?
    I do not sit and watch a TV, there is NO time for that but I do research on the computer and talk to social workers at the VA. I was shocked when I went to a social worker and asked about the caregiver program and what did I get, papers to fill out an advanced directive for my husband.
    My heart goes out to the other’s who have written in response to all of this and please know that you are not alone in your feelings.
    We are struggling everyday and this new caregiver program offers so many benefits that would help us and so many just like us in many ways. I am really sorry but something about all of this just isn’t right and isn’t at all what our government should stand for. Equality, Justice, where is it?
    What did a post 9-11 Veteran do that my husband didn’t do?
    I am so disappointed, this is really wrong.

  22. Kathy says:

    I can’t help but wonder as these fortunate 9-11 Veterans apply for and are approved for the new Caregiver benefits if they aren’t also covered for ambulance service? Wouldn’t that be nice, I know those who are as I am a full time caregiver, not included in this new program think about how many times we have gotten our husband/wife into the car and white knuckled it to the emergency ward, hoping we would make it on time, knowing that ambulance drivers have equipment in which could help insure our loved ones survival getting to the VA hospital. Guess I should read some more to see just how discriminatory all of this is.

    • Kaiamanda says:

      We take our last several ambulance bills to our OIF/OEF social worker and they helped us file for the VA to pay them. So far the 2 times I knew he’d be died if I didn’t call were paid. You can also get a travel voucher for taking him to the ER. Make sure you are turning those in within 30 days after a visit. I know some people don’t know about this or if your veteran is hospitalized you can get travel pay for taking him to the hospital and home after his hospitalization.

      • i tried to file about 50 different claims for giving care to my father before he passed away in 2006. now im kinda in a pickle cuz in order to care for my father before he passed away, i had to drop school. i currently have a g.e.d. w/honors but it seems says:

        i tried to file about 50 different claims for giving care to my father before he passed away in 2006. now im kinda in a pickle cuz in order to care for my father before he passed away, i had to drop school. i currently have a g.e.d. w/honors but it seems like its not good enough for ayone. my father served in vietnam, and passed in 2006 after being denied even wh malignant mellaoma stage 4. So did i waste all those extra seconds by my dads side, filling out paperwork? Thanks for nothing V.A.,but my Dad says your welcome.

        Honor all veterans, some may have it better, but that’s why my father fought, even when the government basically used them for whatever they were trying to accomplish. (Just an opinion, not a statement) .
        Sincerely,
        A PROUD VETERANS SON!

        • Phyllis says:

          God Bless You “A Proud Veterans Son!”… You too are a hero!.. for loving your father and caring for him. Not everyone can do this job but it’s the love we have for our parents that keeps us going!..

  23. Sandra T says:

    I would like to encourage all PRE 09/11 caregivers to apply (under the new law) anyway. Let the VA deny it. I feel that our lawmakers will take another look at the mistake they have made. I plan to do just that! Think about it, (if & when they see the outcry of veterans & their caregivers), they will have to back date the claim to the original date of filing. Also
    be sure to let your Congress person know of this injustice. I personally would like to thank ALL veterans for their service!

    Wife and caregiver of a Vietnam Veteran.

  24. Amanda says:

    Hey Everyone, OEF/OIF veterans in the NYC area can earn $450 by participating in a study at the NYU Medical Center. You can call me at 877-698-3299 to sign up.

    We also have focus groups for spouses, parents, and partners or veterans. They can earn a $75 gift card for participating. Please call 877-698-3299 to join.

    Thank you! :)

  25. leman says:

    My life revolves around my TV at 60 just not much trust especially
    being granted 100% by people who never saw a person die or felt their own life may end.My husband is so sick and needs open heart surgery, so sick that we are fighting with everything we have to get him recovered and well enough that he “might” survive the surgery and have a future. This will be his 3rd major surgery trying to survive the effects of being sprayed with Agent Orange while he was stationed in Viet Nam. Two strokes, this last one massive, both legs operated on, stints, heart disease renal failure.

  26. Kaiamanda says:

    I am a Caregiver for my husband whose a Post-911 Veteran. If you are looking at this page you are looking at a program for post 911, but this is just one. There are plenty of options for pre-911. Also I’m in the beginning stages of applying for this program and let me say that it’s not just for spouses but for all caregivers. I have someone who lives with us to help me care for my husband. We have also applied for Aid and Attendance in the past with no luck. My husband has Severe PTSD, Seizures, Sleep Apnea, Hypoxia, I could go on. The bottom line is he can’t be left unattended for any period of time so this program would be great for us if we can get it. We have been trying to get his 100% for the last 3 years with no luck. I’m starting to understand fighting for a Veteran.

    I know it’s hard and I’m not trying to be a cheerleader for the VA but just keep fighting. We go to the Texas Veteran Commission office located in our VA for help. They have really been there to help us figure out what we need to do for my husband and my family to get though this. Just know this is just one program. I’ve heard of other help for burn victims, Agent Orange, etc you just need to know who to go to get the help. DAV has also helped us alot. Granted we see a OIF/OEF social worker but just keep fighting for your soldier. They fought for their country and our freedom and now it’s our duty to stand up for their sacrifice.

  27. VA Caregiver says:

    Please go to Facebook and “Like” the new page – VA Caregiver Support Program – Connect with all the new family caregivers for our brave disabled veterans and the veterans themselves! Or to learn more about this new program!

  28. Jerry Burns says:

    I am a Korean war vet and am 100% rated disabled veteran. I receive a 100% vet pension and health care from the local veterans hospital and clinic. I feel that I have been teaated fairly by the VA in most instances and have received superior madical care. Having said that I feel that the current rules re: post 911 care rules are totally out of line. Did those veterans sacrafice more then we did for America? What were the pols thinking of when thay voted for this insane rule. I feel so bad for all the veterans I have read about above. So what to do, write letters, make phone calls, send emails to your pols and ask then about their position and what they plan to do about this injustice. Don’t just sit and complain, do something now.

    Jerry

    • Kristen Davis says:

      Hi Jerry,

      My grand father is also a Vet from that war and I am in the middle of trying help him and my grandmother get a rating for him since he was directly exposed to radiation during that war and has since developed 5 kinds of cancer. The costs that my grandparents have incurred is totally not acceptable and the treatment they have received is totally not ok. I tried a few years back to get them a care giver to help with the traveling to do chemo and other tasks that have been really taxing on my grandmother. I was appalled that I got treated even worse on their behalf than when I was told my husband was too young to be suffering from PTSD and that I don’t matter being his spouse that is now full time stay at home due to the problems that have come up with him and getting a rating so that we can get some kind of help. I am on your side with this that WHY are we only qualified to look into this program? I wrote my congressman about this and the problems that are being added to good people because of some stupid rule.

  29. Dave says:

    Do you all see yourself acting like children’s when one gets something and the other don’t. Why do act like this? Have we learned anything? Did anyone look at the report that says within two years the VA has to report to congress so that other veterans could have the same benefits? Don’t let money take over your sense of happiness to come down over your veteran compensation will come to you perhaps in a different form, don’t forget the pass experience continue with the new generation, we all should say that “something is being done, rather than nothing is being done” face reality it be your son, grandson or someone you love that is happening too, at least they won’t be burden for someone to stay home and care for that veteran. I thank oh mighty God and pray for those that are in this situation. So people greed or whinny about why not all are being treated equally won’t process any VA decision. I’m also a Veteran that was in a foxhole getting at and bomb at and injured so stop the insanity of why not me? And why them? At least your love one is their next to you. “God Bless you all” even if you don’t agreed with me.

    • Barbara says:

      You say within 2 years the benefits may extend to all disabled vets. My husband is a 100%SC/former POW. We get Aid and Attendance after fighting for it for several years. Please be aware that my WWII honorable disabled husband may not last 2 more years. As a cancer survivor myself, I hope I last two more years to be able to take care of him because no one from his family will take on this responsibility. My stress level from caring for him since 2005 through my own 6 surgeries plus chemo is sometimes unbearable. I told our health care team including the social worker how unfair the post 9/11 rule was for assisting family caregivers.

      It is tragic that every single claim has to be fought for like a personal war. I am my husband’s fiduciary and advocate since he can no longer handle this last battle himself. Unfortunately we have to deal with the Oakland Regional Office which is the slowest office for processing claims in the US; currently their average length of time to handle a claim is 470 days.

      When my husband was battling for his 100% service connected disability claim, one of the psychiatrists questioned whether or not he was really a POW since the records had burned. So insulting and demeaning to be treated like a liar. When we are at the VA Health Clinic in SF many of the people who work there treat the vets with absolutely no respect. These veterans earned the right to be treated with respect, to have their injuries treated for life and at this end of life be given the best possible palliative care possible —- THIS IS NOT A GIFT they earned this right by fighting for all of us.

  30. Kristen Davis says:

    I am a 26 year old wife of a veteran that suffers from PTSD. I applied for caregiver status when we started our claim and I was literally shut out from any help what so ever and my husband was told he was too young to qualify for anything let alone me. Well my husband now has a 70% rating but my husband is not physically handy capped but he has shown serious issues with everyday life. Such as handling the stress of bills or something as simple as grocery shopping. We also can’t go out to a crowded restaurant or do something like a large concert due to his PTSD. I was a full time bank teller until my husband had a break down and came to me for help. I have to run this house plus all the things that most husbands that don’t suffer from PTSD do like working on the cars and scheduling ALL his appointments and doing ANY paperwork even if it is for him alone. I deal with his meds and keep and eye out for side effects or if he is not taking his meds or if he develops other issues. I also have to make ALL the financial decisions right down to all my own health issues and needs as well. I recently got him a sleep machine since he was not sleeping and that thing is great but I have found in the last 4 years that I can’t sleep any longer through a night for fear of being hit in my sleep by my husband who has a tendancy to thrash in his sleep. However, the more I read on this the more I am hoping that I qualify for not just some help with his meds but financial help as well since I can’t go back to work and I spend a lot of money having to drive over an hour to our nearest VA for treatment.

    • bruce wayne jaurigue says:

      Why,only 9/11 military,have right for family care givers??..What about Nam vets,,suffering PTSD,severe suicidal thoughts,deep depression,,an medical VA conditions??…Vote Vets,,never has stated,any of this???..We are all forgotten???…Vote Vets,has become a ”joke”!!

    • Melody says:

      My situation is almost detail for detail as yours, however we couldnt ask for a better line of defense than we are getting from or VA here in Missouri. I would like to know two things what hospital VA you go to and how I can get in touch with you. I am just starting the journey and have3 for a National Support Team (in Process) for your situation. I have helped 7 veterans so far and in process of helping 3 more get what that dont know about would love to see what I can do for you and your husband. God Speed and hope to hear from you soon!
      Melody

    • PROUD.OIF.MARINEVETERAN.WIFE says:

      I am 27 years old and my husband 25…he is 90% disabled and most of it being ptsd….I we deal with many I’d the same issues every day but we were eligible for the caregiver program…so somewhere along the way you were either miss informed about the age thing or theres other reasons he doesn’t qualify.

  31. Darrell Dishman says:

    There is a book, “Home Front” by Rick Anderson at amazon.com!
    This book will help YOU understand the VA System ands how it works.
    I learned a lot from this book and YOU will too.
    This book should have also been issued when YOU got YOUR Helmet and Weapon!
    I am a 100% service connected Vietnam Veteran, Crew Cheif/Door Gunner.
    Thank You Mr. Anderson for fighting for those who faught for US ALL.
    Thank You Again Mr.Anderson
    Darrell Dishman

  32. jimbo says:

    its a damn shame that our veterans have to fight after giving their all just to find out that they are just disposable heroes and now days the us government are scratching their heads wondering why no one is joining up at the recruting stations ill tell you why because they see the vets getting screwed

  33. JOHN says:

    I dont want to be all “me to”. I was told by V.A enployee that came to my house for evaluation and told me i qualified for this program. I got all the paperwork, forms and letters that she asked me to get. I went to my reginal office to turn the paperwork in and they told me i didnt qualify because i got out of the Army in 1994. This after my wife and i spent hours getting all the paperwork together. What a slap in the face.
    You no why its only after 9-11-01? and 9-11-01 was picked just as a justification. “hey we will use 9-11-01 because it sounds like a good date to excludes the majority of vetrans and we can save money” They spent 1 billion a day when we were over in iraq. But but they wont pay us veterans what we are entitled to. Well thats encouraging The captcha code i have to send this is”3 ASS” . F23k u obama

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  36. Jessica McCarter says:

    I am a caregiver to my 26 year old husband who is in end stage heart failure and has a left ventricular assist device keeping him alive. He is also waiting for a heart transplant. My husband is 100% service connected under presumptive illness. We left Fort Polk in 2009 and within a year he is in end stage heart failure. We are both post 9/11 veterans and we both deployed to Iraq together in 2007. The VA told us we don’t qualify for the post 9/11 caregiver assistance program because he has an illness and not an injury. We were given an L rating for aid and attendance which is a bunch of crap. That is $667.00 dollars I receive a month to be my husbands nurse. My husband has a tube that comes out of his stomach that I have to surgically clean everyday, he cannot dress or bathe by himself because of his device and he has to wear battery packs everyday to keep power to his device. I will take care of my husband no matter what, but I also have three children to care for without any assistance. I had to go to grad school online just so I can get some GI bill money to make ends meet. Before my husband was found to be service connected the VA refused to help us with medical supplies and perscriptions. My husband takes over 50 pills a day. Most of our back pay went to pay off medical bills. The only way I can get respite care from the VA is if one of my relatives pass away and I have to leave the state. Until then I can’t visit my family because I have no one to take care of my husband. It just doesn’t seem right. I have so much to worry about, the last thing I want to think about is our finances. Our future is so uncertain, but I try to keep faith and pray that my husband will get a transplant so we can move on with our lives.

  37. NoAble Vetrn says:

    My husband is a 100%SCV & I NEED help NOW!
    (read my blog SaveMyDisabledVeteran.blogspot.com for more information)
    He’s become suicidal. He’s called the suicide hotline and that did NOT help. I got him to see MH & the doc was WAY off. I contacted politians, secretaries, adminstrations, agencies, etc… they all tell me to sue – (I have power of attorney because my husband doesn’t want to deal with the VA or SSA who “don’t care, can do whatever they want, even illegally, and they rather see me die than help, do what’s right, give what’s promised…”
    I don’t know what to do – I’ve locked up all the meds, guns, and more. NO ONE will help… or get some overwhelmed they stop “looking into it” or whateever… I really thought if I got him some justice, something they promised him, some compensation for the injuries & mistakes, even apologies he’d feel a bit better… but it keeps getting worse… should I just give up instead of trying to help knowing he may be right – no one will do anything.

    I’m in tears every night. I can’t take the lies from politians and fed employees & turn around & fake smiles like everything is ok.

    What should I do?
    I’m so alone…
    I’m too damn poor to afford even to file the ODAR appeal, much less legal help.
    How do you save someone who you can’t find one argument that what he says or thinks is wrong?

  38. NoAble Vetrn says:

    why is va.gov down? ANyone else getting that? I only have so much “good time” (I’ve got some medical issues that cause alot of inabilities and what I do have I need to help my husband bathe, eat, dress, etc… so I’m ticked off, all night the va.gov websitee has been down. errr.
    March 23-24 (night/morning) 2012

  39. Phyllis says:

    I too and a 46 yr old, who is caring for her 80 yr old Father, who is a Korean War Vet and I am caring full time for him. I was told by an Uncle (he is a Vietnam War Vet and Dad’s brother) that there is a program that will assist with a monthly stipend to help a caregiver such as I and so many others of you. I’m still searching for this as I type this and cannot find what my Uncle told me! (FRUSTRATED!!).. IF anyone knows what he might be talking about, please send me some information .. Thanks!

  40. Dayna says:

    Well, it appears that the Gulf War Veterans (pre-9/11 vets) are the new Vietnam Veterans. We seem to be forgotten while the Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans get the newest and best care as well as their caregivers. I hold no grudges against them. I remember how we were cheered when we came back after ignoring the Vietnam vets for so many years. We’ve never truly apologized to them for that treatment, either. They deserved more. I know. I understand NOW. I’ve had to fight MORE since I left the Army than I did when I was in Kuwait for my injury. 20 years and I’m tired of it. Yes, I’m 100% P & T w/ loss of use. I can’t walk, I can’t get to the bathroom, I’m starting to lose control of my bladder, I can’t change my clothes, I can’t prepare my meals, I can’t perform personal hygiene, I can’t do laundry, yada, yada, yada. I can’t even get out of bed without assistance. My husband left his job of 10 years to take care of me. That’s a loss of about $4500 a month take home. He could hire a nurse to care for me, but that would take most, if not all, of his check. Thankfully we’ve always lived on one paycheck. While I realize the caregiver benefit would come no where near his pay, it would certain give us some help. This is no life, either. I’ve spoken to my doctor about home care, and I’m told that he knows nothing about it–so it’s ignored (I have a company called Visiting Doctors come to the house that costs $200 a visit–boy, is that fair or what!!). He sends a consult to the pain clinic and it’s cancelled. I ask for help and I get none. I’ve never been a melodramatic woman or suicidal, but I have to say, if I had more life insurance and if it would pay out in this situation, I might consider it. The pain is out of control and with how they’re treating me/us, they make it plain that I don’t matter. If I don’t matter, what’s the point? Those of us that are forgotten, like the Vietnam vets and the Persian Gulf/Gulf War Vets, need more than what you’re giving us.

  41. Mr scott says:

    i am a vet and just retired. I am not understand why that I can not get no question answered about my benefits. It has been a month and the only answer that i keep getting from the VA is we can’t see that part so I can’t help.