Officials expect about one-third of the 33,000 program recipients, or around 6,700 families, to be completely dropped from the program after the proposed changes. It is unclear how many more could see reductions in the amount of financial support they receive each month.
VA #disability Twitter today is wild
Now do the VA caregiver stipend
We will likely be disenrolled from the stipend program at the end of the year because my vet has invisible injuries, as will thousands of others.
— Kelly ✍️ (@Kelly_Hunsucker) February 9, 2022
A group of 15 veterans service organizations submitted objections to the changes to PCAFC, which provides elderly and infirm veterans This program provides resources, education, support, a financial stipend, and health insurance, beneficiary travel, to caregivers of eligible Veterans.
Don’t forget- #Veterans & family #caregivers who applied for benefits under PCAFC during the program are allowed to appeal any PCAFC benefits decision to BVA, Checkout website on how to appeal. @Lawyer4Warriors @PublicCounsel @Paul_Hastings https://t.co/R7zwEEIPkl #caregiving pic.twitter.com/oJU4VKxi9b
— NVLSP (@Lawyer4Warriors) February 12, 2022
One of the major complaints was that the new rules scheduled to go into effect in October “drastically changed the program’s eligibility criteria” resulting in “harsh impacts” for families, according to Military Times.
Others complain that the new rules were designed to cut the number of families eligible for benefits and disregard the medical and emotional needs of the veterans.
During his monthly press conference, McDonough said feedback received regarding the proposed changes concerned him enough to order the reevaluation:
“I am worried about the feedback we’re getting. We work for caregivers; we work for the veterans. We want to make sure that they’re getting the information they need and clarity about why we’re making the decisions we’re making.”
Following a year-long review of the program, where families suffered a rollercoaster of possibilities, ranging between additional eligibility to potential removal from the program, McDonough said that Deputy Secretary Donald Remy would lead a review of the program changes:
“(Review) to make sure that we’re learning everything we can from and that we’re making best use of investments Congress has made in this program.”
Just In: @SecVetAffairs calls for thorough review of the @DeptVetAffairs Program for Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC).
Statement from our CEO @Schwab_S live now: https://t.co/9L41Zkva8u pic.twitter.com/JuLHmn3kJf
— Elizabeth Dole Foundation (@DoleFoundation) February 17, 2022
McDonough said he expects the evaluation to take several weeks and will focus on changes made to the program and how those changes are being communicated to the participant families:
“(Caregivers) will be a bigger part of the backbone as our aging veterans demonstrate that they, like the rest of the country, want to age in place,” he said. “And so, we want to get this right.”
VA Sec. Denis McDonough predicts caregivers “will be a bigger part of the backbone as our aging veterans demonstrate that they, like the rest of the country, want to age in place. And so we want to get this right.” https://t.co/CHQ4mH8bMr
— ConnectingVets (@ConnectingVets) February 17, 2022
Families cut from the program in October following the reevaluation will receive an additional five months of payments as they transition out, according to Program Executive Director Colleen Richardson.
Richardson pointed out that families that will be cut from the monthly stipend, which can total up to $3,000 monthly, will still qualify for other benefits including counseling and training:
“And even though they may not qualify for the stipend, they will still qualify for services within the caregiver support program.”
Stipend calculations are based on the severity of veterans’ injuries and the cost of living in the area where they live.