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Legion gets update on caregiver program

Jacob Gadd, deputy director for Healthcare for The American Legion's Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division, received an update on June 14 from Debbie Amdur, who is heading up the Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Program.

On May 9, VA began accepting applications for caregiver benefits. The caregiver application form is filled out by the servicemember or veteran, and the primary or secondary family caregiver. Once the application has been completed, it is submitted to the Health Eligibility Center (HEC) in Atlanta or to a caregiver support coordinator at any of the 152 VA medical centers nationwide, who will then process it. VA requires a signed application currently but is working to develop a fully automated system where the application can be filed online with an electronic signature in the next few months. To date, VA reports that they have 1,138 caregiver applications in process.

After processing of the application is completed, the caregiver support coordinator then works with the VA medical center's Primary Care teams to determine whether the servicemember or veteran is administratively and clinically eligible for the program. The primary family caregiver is then signed up for mandatory training either in the home or a classroom setting. VA is in the process of creating an online version of this caregiver training later this month. After the caregiver training is completed, VA's Home Assessment Team visits the veteran's home to verify that the primary family caregiver has sufficient knowledge/skill to perform the requisite care, after which the frimary/family caregiver is certified for stipend payment. VA is on schedule to begin paying stipends to eligible caregivers beginning on July 1.

To apply for the caregiver benefit, a caregiver must fill out VA Form 10-10CG, Application for Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregiver Program. The application can be found here. After completing the application, it must be signed and mailed to Family Caregiver Program, Health Eligibility Center, 2957 Clairmont Road NE, Ste 200, Atlanta, GA 30329-164. Applications can also be processed over the phone by calling the Health Resource Center in Topeka, Kan., at (877) 222-8387. For questions or to connect with your local caregiver support coordinator at your nearest VA medical center, please contact VA's National Caregiver Support Line at (855)230-3274. For additional information or questions about VA's Caregiver Program, please contact the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division at (202) 861-2700 or by e-mail. at