The VA Caregiver Program is a new $1 billion slush fund set up in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. What’s it all about? Navy Veteran Lauren Price of Veteran-Warriors.org joins me in this episode to talk about what is going on and whether or not veterans and the VA have been helped under the Trump administration.
Additional information provided by Lauren.
Proposed Rule Changes: Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
The major takeaways of the proposed rules are:
- These proposed rules REQUIRE LEGISLATIVE changes to the CSP law
- Under the proposal, it does remove the 3-tier system, leaving a 2-tier system where the stipend will be a GS 4 Step 1 payrate for the higher tier. For the lower tier, it will be 62.5% of the GS4 Step 1 payrate
- Under the proposal, a veteran can qualify for the program IF the veteran is service connected at 70% or higher AND requires assistance with ADL or constant supervision/protection
- Under the proposal, in order to qualify for the higher tier (full GS4 Step 1 rate) the veteran must require TOTAL assistance with at least 3 ADLs, OR require constant assistance for supervision
- Under the proposal, the program will require a SERVICE-CONNECTED rating of 70% or higher; veterans with a rating of 60% of less will NOT qualify
- Under the proposal, the program will no longer require the veteran to require direct assistance for the qualifying injury
- Under the proposal, the program will open the door for all service-connected conditions including injuries, illnesses, disease
- Under the proposal, the program will continue to use the CETs and “consult” with the Primary Care Team
- Under the proposal, there will be a “legacy” clause for those who are currently in the program at the time the rules take effect. The legacy clause allows for the current participants to remain in the program for 1 full year as a transition. During this time, if the veteran qualifies for the “new” criteria, the caregiver will be compensated at whatever the higher rate of pay is (old rate or new rate)
- Under the proposal, the veteran must require HANDS ON assistance OR constant supervision to qualify
- Under the proposal, the caregiver will be required to be evaluated for their ability to properly care for the veteran, including the caregiver’s health. This opens the door for requiring caregivers to provide medical records which is a violation of privacy or requiring bogus psych evals as the facilities have attempted to do in the past.
What the proposed rules do NOT state:
- The proposal does NOT provide a clear list of requirements
- There is not a scoring methodology provided to determine eligibility
- Failure by VHA to understand veterans who are rated less than 70% may still require assistance
- Failure by VHA to understand VBA rating system does NOT determine whether a veteran is “serious” and some “serious” ratings max out at lower ratings such as 20-30%
- The proposal would restrict those who require minimal assistance with supervision (example: a veteran who is able to be alone but when they begin to spiral or have an episode who can call their caregiver to be talked down). This is to state the “scaffolding” that is holding some veterans up to keep from spiraling will be removed.
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