VA Benefits for ‘Legacy’ Veteran Caregivers Extended through 2025
Eligibility for the PCAFC opens to all service era veterans on Oct. 1
Those who enrolled or applied (and were later accepted) to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) caregiver support program by Oct. 1, 2020, will continue to receive benefits through Sept. 30, 2025, the agency announced.
The decision follows mounting concerns from the program’s “legacy” participants that their benefits would be lost, paused or decreased due to legislation that expands the program to veterans of all service eras but requires the VA to reexamine its eligibility requirements.
On Oct. 1, 2022 the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) will open up to caregivers of veterans who served between May 7, 1975, and Sept. 10, 2001. Prior to this expansion, only those who served during the Vietnam War and earlier and those who were injured on or after Sept. 11, 2001, were eligible.
“We will stop at nothing to make sure veterans and their caregivers get the support they need and deserve, and this extension is a key part of that effort,” said VA deputy secretary Donald Remy in a statement. “As I’ve said before, trust is earned. It’s not given. We hope we can earn the trust of veterans and caregivers through our continued efforts.”
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Who is eligible for the caregiver benefit?
For caregivers to receive benefits from the PCAFC, the veteran they look after must have a minimum service-connected disability rating of 70 percent and require personal care for at least six continuous months.
Disability ratings are assigned by the VA based on the severity of an illness and how much it decreases a veteran’s overall health and ability to function. The higher the rating, the more severe the disability is.
Monthly payments are set by a federal rate assigned to where a veteran lives. For example, a primary family caregiver of a veteran in Dallas who is unable to perform daily living activities or requires continuous supervision would receive approximately $2,800 a month. If the veteran can perform daily living activities, the caregiver would receive about $1,750 a month.
Other services offered to caregivers include access to health care benefits, caregiver education, financial assistance, mental health services and up to 30 days of respite care.
To learn more, visit the VA’s PCAFC webpage, contact the nearest VA caregiver support coordinator (CSC) or call the VA’s Caregiver Support Line at 855-260-3274 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET).
Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.
Editor’s note: This article, originally published on March 24, 2022, has been updated with the VA’s announcement on extending benefits for the PCAFC’s legacy participants.