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Caregiver Program Reassessments And Changes?



Draggin's wife here...I recently received some information about how the caregiver program was changing to a "rehabilitation program" for the veterans involved. I shrugged it off, until receiving a letter that went to all caregivers in the area (North Texas). The letter follows (in red):

- Annual Clinical Reassessments are completed upon or around your anniversary of being in the Caregiver Support Program. The reassessments are completed by a board of interdisciplinary doctors including a Psychologist, Physical Medicine and Rehab Specialist, and a Medicine physician. We also reach out to you, your Veteran, and your Veteran’s VA treatment team directly to provide additional input.

o Reassessment will result in one of the following: Your tier level can increase, stay the same, decrease, or transition of the program completely if your loved one has regained independence.

- If your Veteran is receiving care by community providers (private sector), it is the responsibility of the Veteran and Caregiver to ensure that those records get to the VA system for scanning for purposes of oversight.

o You may contact your loved one’s VA primary care clinic to determine how to get these records in for scanning.

- This program is meant to be rehabilitative as opposed to a long standing benefit for Veterans who have the ability to recover.

o Veterans in this program are required to engage in treatment plans working towards recovery.

o Veterans in this program are required to see their VA treatment team ‘at a minimum’ of once per year.

o For those Veterans who have the ability to regain their independence in functioning, it is likely that many of these Veterans will ultimately transition off of the program as they continue engaging in treatment.

I have also spoken to a few veterans in my area that let me know that their caregiver benefits were taken away, as they no longer qualified. I am freaking out. My veteran cannot handle things if I have to go back to work!!!

I spoke to my caregiver support coordinator and explained that my husband is now 100% P&T disabled due mainly to PTSD. She said to have his doctors document that they do no expect improvement in his condition.

I wanted to give a heads up for any that may be coming across this situation and ask any advice of those that have already been through this sort of reassessment, as it's not the annual one done by the sweet nurses that come to your house.

Thanks so much

Draggin' and Draggin'sWife

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I have been the caregiver for my wife for the past two years.

At her most recent appoint her psychologist mentioned that the eligibility for the caregiver program had changed, he said that people were not getting approved unless they were basiclly bed ridden. He was concerned that we may have heard something as he knew our yearly reassessment was coming up soon in June. We have not recieved a letter or anything as of yet since we are in Georgia. However I contacted the cordinator on Monday (after the appt) and still haven't heard anything back.

We are concerned that these new eligibility requirements will affect my current status, or my reassessment. My wife is terrified what will happen if I have to go back to work

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I just had my 1 year reassessment and the VA continued me on the program, with my wife getting the Highest Tier. As long as the Vet is in bad shape, which most of us are, then there is nothing to worry about. I am permanent Military for Crohns/PTSD, and SSDI for PTSD and multiple Bone Issues. I have been on the program for over a year now. Just calm down, and take care of the Vet and the rest will take care of itself. Good luck and God Bless!!!

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Draggin's Wife here again

We were later told that we would only be evaluated if the nurse deemed it necessary.  We had our annual visit from the nurse and everything went incredibly well, she even gave me an updated information packet...Then we get a phone call about 2 months later...

Our caregiver coordinator explained that it was time for our annual reassessment with "the board" and the reason it took so long after our annual visit with our nurse was because they were waiting on some appointments for physical and occupational therapy to be completed.

She asked me the general normal questions and then she asked me if there was anything I'd like to add.  I told her I have to be here to take care of my veteran, that he can't drive himself around, etc etc.  Then we waited.  I called her back on the day the board met, and I found out that I went from a Tier 2 to being no longer eligible.

It is happening to veterans with PTSD, amputees, TBI, you name it.  People that truly need the program are being dropped from the program, a lot of people.

I was told I could appeal and plan to do just that.  Also, I was told that I will receive 3 months worth of payments to help me through the gap between paid caregiver and finding other employment.

I know this is not soothing news.  And for that I want to say...this sucks!  My husband does not want me to go back to work, nor do I want to leave him alone after being his safe place/person and person that took care of his needs both emotional and physical.  My being here with him has been tremendously helpful to him, and I feel as though the VA is taking that aspect of his wellness away.

Anyway, that's my update....everyone hang in there.  I'll update about my appeal when it happens.



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I think there is a good chance that Draggin may be unaware there are AT LEAST 2 different programs, and you could be eligible on one of the others.  

There is the "caregiver" you are already aware of.  

There are also levels of SMC that can also provide extra income to the Veteran.  For example, there is SMC S, (Housebound), and several different levels of Aid and Attendance, depending on how sick the Veteran is.  If he has not applied for Aid and Attendance, then he should do so, as it sounds like he needs it.  

If he already has A and A, he may be eligible for higher levels of A and A.   One big issue is the level of expertise needed, and it sounds like he needs a nurse, at least some of the time.  

So, my advice is:

1.  Appeal your termination of caregiver.

2.  Apply for higher levels of A and A.  

For an explanation of higher levels of A and A, go here:

http://www.purpleheart.org/ServiceProgram/Training2010/Tuesday Training Outline NVLSP.pdf

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If the Dr's can verify your hubby's condition will not improve or show any kind of improvement I don't think you need to worry...just make sure when he has an evaluation the Dr or qualified person documents it.

As broncovet mention  check your hubby's ratings  if he is at 100%  P&T  then if he has other S.C. Disability's that add up to 60% on top of the 100%P&T then he would qualify for SMC (Special Monthly Compensation) an extra 347.00 month with spouse.


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