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adkins7b

caregiver program

Question

I am thinking about applying for caregiver program.. I was told they make your caregiver go to training once a month?  is anyone on the program can tell me how there va program is running it

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They dont make your spouse do anything, but they will attend training to receive a Certificate. Then after that the Caregiver Coordinator assigned to you, will call atleast every 3 months and make yearly visits minimum to your house. The first year if approved, the Nurse will come to your home every three months, and usually find out a week or so before they come. The VA will ask that the Spouse continues to attend required training, or random meetings with other caregivers along with your Nurse which provides training to the spouse on how to handle and take care of the Vet. Also to get on the higher levels of the program, the Vet can not work, and they ask that the Caregiver not work. My wife works just a few hours a week to get out of the house. At that time my brother or father come over. I am 35 and have not worked since I was 32. I also have not driven since then either. I have had 12 surgeries since 2011 with more to come, not to include the PTSD and TBI from OIF/OEF. This is a very good program for the few select that meet the criteria. Also it is a very stressful program as well. If it was easy, every Post 911 Vet would be on this program. DC and the VA created the Caregiver as I was told due to previous Wars 1 out of 10 Vets were considered to be considerably Disabled and since 911 that number has increased to 3 out of 10. So VA created this program to fill the Void. I really think that with A&A being so hard to get approved these days, that the VA needed this program to get the Appeals and Denials down. This program is like any other Govt deal, I feel that at any minute this program could be shut down or run out of money. I just try to be grateful for now, and put up with the Govt controlling me thru the program. Nothing comes without sacrifice, I guess. As long as you guys or any other Post 911 Vet has Severe Mental or Physical Issues and do not work, I dont see why you would not get approved for the Caregiver. My VA MH Docs actually put me in for the program. Hope you guys have a good Christmas.

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My Husband is 70% total with an increase for PTSD, EE, both knees, and degenerative Disks in his back. (We are waiting to hear what the outcome of the increase from 70% will be.) We applied for the Caregiver program in Aug 2017. We were accepted for the trials last week of Sept 2017. We were seen by an OT therapist, and had the initial phone call within a week of acceptance of the application. Then it all stopped. We were told he had to see a MH evaluator. We did not hear anything until mid December. I finally received my caregiver training online the day after Christmas. (I completed it that day.) I received a phone call from our local VA caregiver support coordinator Dec 28. She told me to stop calling. That our area was one of the busiest areas for this program. (NE Florida) She said they had ONE person to do home visits, and that it "should" be late January-Mid February before a home visit to be scheduled. She stated in the beginning that if we got this far into the program, I would know if we had been accepted, or denied and the tier level. She told me on the last phone call that we wouldn't even be accepted until after the home visit, and another clinic chart evaluation. It has been a complete nightmare. My Husband has a very light part time job. (Which he frequently cannot go to.) I resigned from 2 jobs in 2016 in order to be at home. (He could not handle being at home with our children.) Fall 2017, I had to withdraw from my Bachelor's program, because even for 2 days a week he could not be at home alone/with our children. We have already been screwed over with his Medical Separation from the USMC. Multiple Mental Health providers had statements at testing to his PTSD, and other issues. The C&P exam for MH put him at 30% for an adjustment disorder. He was medically separated May 2013. It took us 2 years to get him a PCP at our VA, and to get him seen. He went without medication until 2017. Due to his severe EE, and esophagus issues he cannot swallow much. The VA told us there was not much in the way of approved medication that he could take. It took us quite some time to finally get approved for VA referrals for outside Doctor's who would actually listen to what was going on. 

It's sad that his increase (which tends to be a nightmare) is going faster, and more smoothly than the Caregiver application. I call about once ever 2 weeks. There is no ebenefits for us. (Caregiver) We don't have any way to tell when, or if we are going to get approved. Everyone I have called from our support lady, to the hotline, to the patient advocate, all seems to say the same things. Either we don't know, or we understand its frustrating...but imagine the back pay!!! We have no idea if we are even going to get approved. So how can we look forward to backpay??? 

Easily the most frustrating thing we have went through, besides the issues that got him here in the first place. A complete nightmare. If we didn't completely need it, I would tell them we didn't want to do this dance any longer.

Anyone else have a recent time line for this program? We will be looking at 5 months in February. No home visit. Training complete. Assessments complete. Thank you! 

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Im sorry to hear of your husbands health issues. As I stated here and on other threads, there are alot of Vets on here that think this program is just given to the younger post 911 vets. In fact, this is a very hard program to get on and especially the Highest Tier that I am on. If you look at my signature, I have a ton going on, and just found out a few days ago another back surgery in the next few months. It sounds like you need to be there for your husband and family. It didnt take me but a few months to get approved, but as I stated the VA Docs requested this program for me. I did not even know that it existed. There are only a little over a hundred Vets approved within 500 miles of Dallas, and that tells you how hard it is to get. Just try to go thru the different phases, and be glad that you made it thru to the next one. If you do get approved it will be worth it in the end. Just do the best you can and continue to support your husband. Not many spouses are doing that. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I trully wish you the best. God Bless

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23 minutes ago, Navy04 said:

Im sorry to hear of your husbands health issues. As I stated here and on other threads, there are alot of Vets on here that think this program is just given to the younger post 911 vets. In fact, this is a very hard program to get on and especially the Highest Tier that I am on. If you look at my signature, I have a ton going on, and just found out a few days ago another back surgery in the next few months. It sounds like you need to be there for your husband and family. It didnt take me but a few months to get approved, but as I stated the VA Docs requested this program for me. I did not even know that it existed. There are only a little over a hundred Vets approved within 500 miles of Dallas, and that tells you how hard it is to get. Just try to go thru the different phases, and be glad that you made it thru to the next one. If you do get approved it will be worth it in the end. Just do the best you can and continue to support your husband. Not many spouses are doing that. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I trully wish you the best. God Bless

Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for your service as well! 

I understand it is a very difficult program to get into. Like you, my Husband was referred to the Program by his PACT team. During the past 8 months where we have requested non VA referrals, his PCP from the VA, the social worker from the VA, and his outside MH team all suggested that we apply for the Caregiver program. Even the Veteran's advocate office at my University suggested it when I explained the reasons behind my withdraw. I suppose that's why we are so confused. We had no idea that we would even potienally qualify for this sort of program. You get into a routine of things, and just go with it. Now here we are, almost 5 months into an application process, with little answers. No end in sight. It does seem like a great program to be on...in/when it happens. Just the no ended wait is extremely stressful. 

I hope your surgery goes well. My Husband has another (5th) knee surgery next month, and a looming back surgery as well. We found a medication regiment that was working, until his blood work came back with elevated liver quantities. Now we are back to square one. One day at time. God bless! 

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Edited by jfrei

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