VA’s Comprehensive Caregiver Support Program was established in 2011 to provide supports and services, such as caregiver education and training, health coverage and a monthly stipend, to primary family caregivers of eligible veterans who were seriously injured in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001.
In March 2020, VA proposed new caregiver regulations to expand access its Comprehensive Caregiver Support Program by redefining eligibility to include all service-connected veterans whose serious disabilities are caused by illnesses, rather than just injuries-a policy change DAV has advocated for a decade. Changes were also proposed 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 program participants.
These proposed regulations would change in many ways how the Comprehensive Caregiver Support Program currently operates and has increased the level of complexity of the Information Technology (IT) software needed to fully support and manage the program. It also challenges VA’s ability to meet the IT certification requirements to expand eligibility of the program to caregivers of veterans severely injured before 9/11, included in the VA MISSION Act of 2019 (Public Law 115-182).
VA notes it is working hard to meet its intended IT certification target of June 2020, but with this anticipated change in IT requirements, now estimates the start of full expansion could be delayed to late summer/early fall of 2020. DAV has expressed our serious disappointment about this news and has been urging VA to make every effort to meet the earlier deadline as many seriously disabled veterans and their caregivers have gone without the proper support for decades and will likely be in even greater need as the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rest assured DAV will continue to monitor the situation closely and update you as the situation develops.