VA publishes proposed regulations to improve the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers


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VA will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register March 6 that would improve and standardize VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) and ensure the program regulations reflect changes required by the VA MISSION Act of 2018.

A component of the Caregiver Support Program, the PCAFC was established in 2011 to provide additional benefits including a monthly stipend for qualifying family caregivers of eligible Veterans who were seriously injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

In the proposed rule, VA seeks to standardize eligibility by expanding the definition of serious injury to include any service-connected disability—regardless of whether it resulted from an injury, illness or disease—defining what it means to be in need of personal care services, and ensuring that the eligibility criteria capture the personal care service needs of Veterans and service members with cognitive or neurological impairment or mental health conditions, among other things.

Additionally, VA is proposing changes to the stipend payment methodology, definitions for financial planning and legal services, and procedures for revocation and discharge, to include advance notice requirements aimed at improving communication between VA and PFAFC participants.

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to caregivers who work tirelessly to provide critical support for our nation’s Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This proposed regulation would improve the assistance we provide to help ensure our most vulnerable Veterans can stay in their homes with their loved ones for as long as possible.”

VA’s Caregiver Support Program is the first of its kind and addresses the complexity and expense of keeping loved ones out of institutions and at home with their families who provide personalized care. The program offers unparalleled support services including training, peer mentoring, respite care, a telephone support line and self-care courses for caregivers of all Veterans enrolled in VA health care who need personal care services.

The regulations are part of a broad effort to strengthen PCAFC in advance of a planned expansion under the MISSION Act, which expanded eligibility for PCAFC to eligible Veterans from all eras, beginning with those who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975. Two years after the first phase of program expansion, PCAFC will include eligible Veterans who were seriously injured in the line of duty between May 7, 1975, and Sept. 11, 2001. Prior to expanding, VA must fully implement an information technology (IT) system required by the MISSION Act.

In October 2019, VA launched a commercial off-the-shelf IT system and expects to complete deployment in late summer or early fall of 2020. The department also standardized operating procedures for the Caregiver Support Program, provided new training for staff and caregivers, and is boosting operational capacity through hiring of additional staff. These changes are necessary as VA prepares to expand PCAFC.

Learn more

VA support services are available for caregivers of Veterans or call the Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274.

The proposed rule will be open for public comment in the Federal Register for 60 days.

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Comments

  1. Paula Minger    

    While I’m pleased with the new rules this shows me we probably will not see the expansion until 2021 if not later

    That will be over 11 years our WWII KOREAN VIETNAM and DESERT STORM Veterans have waited.

    Over 800 of these veterans die each day waiting

    All while we pay of young, healthy IRAQ AFGHAN Wars Vets wives up to $3200 to be “caregivers” for them because these Vets claim PTSD, a possible MILD TBI & or Drug alcohol abuses issues (they blame on the PTSD) at least 90% do

    These same POST 9/11 vets still drive, shop, cook, travel to fun retreats, get involved in daily activities such as golf, surfing etc etc while PRE 9/11 Veterans are unable to do any of these things due to actual wounds of war and majority our confined to beds most of each day

    We should all be angry at 2009 CONGRESS and BIG 6 VSOS and NOT the V.A. for this unmistakable discrimination against ELDER veterans DISABLED by wounds of war

    They did it by allowing the post 9/11 Veterans groups WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT to deny our most in need Veterans

    The VA. fought against it.

    1. Matthew Fischer    

      I could call you a jealous little b, but your behavior is doing all the talking for me. Don’t worry about what others have and what they got in their lives. Does it hurt you or affect you? Maybe ask for assistance or stay the f out of other people’s lives!

  2. michael hadowanetz    

    this program has been held up for 2 years it was signed by trump in june 2018 my wife has been waiting for 3 years somebody in the va should be fired

    1. Paula Minger    

      I’ve waited since 1980

  3. Dawn Beverly    

    Here in Oregon, Roseburg VA dismissed us because my husband was on the program too long. We were verbally told by Caregiver’s staff member; that the PCAFC was a short term program for veterans. But according to the VHA Directive 1152(1), he still qualifies for the program. Also, there is no mention of the words, or phrase PCAFC is a short term program in any of the regulations we researched. By nature of this program, it is a long term program, so the caregivers can take care of the veterans while they are alive. So, we are aghast by what happened after the reevaluation.
    On the day of his reexamination, my husband was in a wheelchair during the examination, because he had been having migraines and seizures all that week prior to the exam. This stress from this exam that was coming additional cause anxiety to our lives because of this event of the medical exam was 2 hours away from our home. He was worried that something like him being dismissed from the program would happen. But we were reassured that with all his disabilities, it would be short and easy, and it was more likely than not that he would not be kicked off of the program. But, he was correct. He was actually dismissed!
    At the time, my husband had 100% PTSD and A&A SMC (L), but my husband was not approved for his seizures secondary to TBI. Subsequently, he was rated at 0% TBI, but now he has been granted 80% Seizures, and 30% Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV secondary to TBI). We believe because he was not rated at a higher percentage for his TBI, it was used against him. Nevertheless, we have appealed several times by written correspondence with the same results, with either Caregivers staff stating we still do not qualify or no answer from VA. My husband, my family, and I should not be suffering in quality of life because providers are not following the VHA’s policies.
    Thank you for the information, and serving them that has service!

  4. William R. Poole    

    This is great – now I just have to apply AGAIN for a disability due to proable exposure to azgent orange and emotional problems associated with active duty.

  5. Paul Mifsud    

    Caregivers I am one of them. I am the oldest living caregiver around Started when I was 10 years old. Old mostly. Don’t have a much of a history. But I know how to take care of people and a small business and federal employee business. Thank you from Paul L. Mifsud

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