VA announces suspension of revocation of Caregiver benefits
On April 17, VA announced it will suspend revocations of benefits initiated by VA medical centers for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), pending a full review of the program. The announcement comes two weeks after media coverage revealed that some VA medical centers have been dropping Caregivers from the program at alarming rates.
The suspension of revocations will last three weeks, according to VA. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, who ordered the internal review, states it is intended to “evaluate consistency of revocations in the program and standardize communication with Veterans and caregivers nationwide.”
Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
The Caregivers Program, created as a result of Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 and applicable only to Post-9/11 veterans, provides benefits to family members who care for their disabled veterans full-time.
Benefits for caregivers participating in the program include much-needed resources like medical training, healthcare, and respite. But perhaps most importantly, the program provides substantial monthly stipends for caregivers who cannot work because they must be home to support their veteran.
“Caregivers play a critically important role in the health and well-being of Veterans, and caring for an injured Veteran is a labor of love,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Acting VA Under Secretary for Health. “We remain focused on process improvements and support services for our family caregivers so they can take care of our Veterans.”
VA says the suspension will not halt the processing of new caregiver applications, the processing of appeals, nor the monitoring of eligible Veterans’ well-being at least every 90 days.
Revocations exempted from the suspension include those made by the veteran or caregiver; those caused by noncompliance; or those due to death, permanent institutionalization, or long-term hospitalization of a Veteran or caregiver.