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So, where is the VA caregivers program (PCAFC) headed from here?



Seems like the VA is fumbling around in trying to salvage the program and naintain some kind of self dignity in the process.


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The initial Richard Leonard show about the shenanagains within the VA caregiver's program. Worth the listen. Does the VA record you at your VA appointments? I don't have the answer, but I now that I am aware that they have that capability, I will be very cautious.


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I'm Just commenting about my husband's experience applying for me/his wife to as his Caregiver with the PCAFC Caregivers Program. Hoping to share some insight. Please know. Basically, it's a fight! Even more stressful, it's a battle with an outside group within VA/VHA: Social Workers and Nurses. You're speaking one language and they are speaking another. When you are battling just the VA, at least you're speaking the same language not always reading the same script but still the language is the same. 

We were denied for the Caregiver's Program. We completed our interview/assessment about November 30, 2022. We received our Denial Letter on December 19, 2022. My husband is 100% Disabled with SMC Housebound; TDIU. He's a Vietnam Marine Corps' Purple Heart; Agent Orange Exposed Veteran. He endured two cancers, colon and rectal. One, of his active cancers Prostate Cancer, is being contained by Hormone Shots; 50% PTSD; !0% Diabetes 2. Hypertension 0%; Tinnitus 10%. He's lost use of his Right Hand. Shuffles when he walks because he cannot feel his feet underneath him. He has a tendency to fall.... more so as time goes on. He wears a colonoscopy bag due to losing his sphincter, and wears diapers due to chronic incontinence. Yet, the Caregivers' program stated we don't qualify for the Caregivers' program. I assist my husband with bathing, toileting, dressing, prepares his meals, cuts his meats, especially, beef/steaks. When he falls i assist him in getting up off the floor. Whenever he has a meltdown, I calm him down to a state of rational calmness. I keep the pathway where he walks uncluttered so as to make safe for any unexpected falls. The Caregivers' Program stated it would be to my husband's advantage not to extend services to him at this time (?). Further they stated the Caregivers Program wouldn't be beneficial for improving his health (?). CEAT in conjunction with PCAFC suggested that: Perhaps we should consider one of the other Caregivers' Programs (?). We responded: "Congress already knows the state of these chronically ill veterans and that their health status is not necessarily going to improve. Congress provides a compensation opportunity for Veteran spouses of all eras; most recently, extended to Vietnam Era Veterans for their wives or husbands to receive compensation for caring for his/her veteran spouse. Spouses of veterans are helping to keep these chronically ill Veterans alive and at home in the comfort of their own homes with family loved ones around them for continued enjoyment of family life."

Furthermore, six ADLs are required to qualify.  We listed at least six ADLs. I listen on Exposed Vet Podcast to James Cripps and Ray Cobbs talk about their experiences with the Caregivers' Program. I never expected it to be adversarial. I had to give up my job in 2011 to no longer work outside the home so I could see after my husband. Now that this benefit is being offered to long overdue Vietnam Veterans for their Caretaker Wives/Husbands, it seems as if going to be like Hell to pay to obtain the benefit! That doesn't seem right to me. My husband made 80 years of age July 2022. The Caregiver Program's CEAT Component (An internal appeal group/board comprised of Social Workers and Nurses gathering to justify your denial and its appeal within prior to issuing your denial) also made a comment that there were no indication/notes in my husband's medical records that he needed Caregiver Assistance. The fact that my husband is 100% disabled, Housebound, TDIU, along with his varying descriptive illnesses/disabilities, doesn't that logically = to needing assistance at home from the Veteran's wife and/or some other close relative? So, if it isn't written in the medical records, it's not to be believed although it is already inherent within his ratings and tied into the very meaning of Housebound?

We filed Notice of Disagreement with BVA on December 30, 2022. We requested it be advanced on the docket due to age. On February 6, 2023, we were notified it was before a Judge. Then, on March 10, 2023, when logging into HealtheVet indicated, "On March 7, 2023, the Board sent a decision on your case. Because the Judge identified an error, A reviewer at VHA will correct the error based on the Judge's instruction. You'll receive a new decision in the mail."

It's a battle! Even worse in some ways than other type VA battles! Even a regular VA denial typically knows the meaning of Housebound. Yet, the Caregivers Program does not......or so it seems.

Edited by Viet Wife
Adding more details to clarify; corrected a misspelling..
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The VA has updated it's Website so you can download the decisions. Did his doctor fill out the form for his assistance? If they approved his hardship application did you include his cancer diagnosis doc's with the app?

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All details regarding ratings and illnesses/conditions are in my husband's medical file. All, my husband's diagnoses/resulting treatments and care have been rendered at the VA.


Hardship assistance? I'm not understanding. Appealing to the BVA for denial of the Caregiver Program is only appealable by the veteran at this point.

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Viet Wife posted:


Appealing to the BVA for denial of the Caregiver Program is only appealable by the veteran at this point.

Probably not.  This suggests your hubby is opposed to appealing the caregiver program, and this is inconsistent with your belief's and needs.  The Veteran "or his representative" can appeal.  This generally means some person or group that your husband has granted a POA (power of attorney) to handle his affairs relating to VA benefits.  

While I can not suggest whether this is appropriate in your case, some (disabled Vets) have been declared incompetent to manage their affairs, and, if this is the case its probably in your best interest to become his fiduciary, not one VA picks out for you.  (Or, perhaps the Veterans brother, or trusted friend/family member of the Veteran who can be the fiduciary).  

Based solely on what you posted, it may be in your's and the Veteran's best interests to have the Veteran sign POA over to YOU.  YOur POA should allow you to make decisions in his behalf.  

I would not object to my spouse making said decisions..I have discussed this with her, and she knows, and is eager to "carry out" my wishes, such as burial, end of life care, or even finances and benefits if Im no longer competent to manage my financial affairs.  

A lot of this is "about trust".  Let me give an example.  Let's say YOU refuse to give your hubby POA in the event of your incapicaty, because you dont think he can do it.  But you want him to trust you, with the same.  Can you see the problem there?  You expect him to trust you, but you dont trust him, so why would he?  Isnt trust a 2 way street?  

Of course, you may not agree with some of his decisions.  But, you need to trust he will act in your best interest.  

"Establishing trust" is super important, and its not easy to maintain, but worth it all.  My theory to establish trust is simple:  Keep your commitment (your word) every time, and people will learn to trust you.   Establish a reputation as a liar, and not so much.  

PLEASE dont take this as a suggestion you are not honest.  Instead, its a suggestion perhaps, your relationship may need some healing, mostly because most of us have gotten hurt, emotionally, and need healing.  I guess Im saying this is a real possibility, because, I have no problem giving my wife POA, and she has no problem  trusting me either.  A good name really is more valuable than riches, because a good name can be trusted, but a liar can not.  If I dont trust my spouse, how can I lead my children into trusting me?  Often we mistrust people, "not because" they have been caught in a web of lies, but because WE have been untruthfull and assume others are also.  Pointing fingers at one's spouse often means that 3 fingers are pointed back at us.  

Your husband obviously has redeeming qualities, or else you would leave.  So expand on those and build new ways to trust.  Its easy for a building to fall which is built on shady ground, same with a marriage.  

If you and he confess past mistakes, and ask for forgivenesss, and grant each other forgiveness, even if the pain was great, then you are on that road to trust.  Virtually all of us have told a lie at one time, and you need to accept he, also, may have done so.  Clear the slate, reset, then keep your word every time.  

Based on what you said, your hubby should trust you and give you POA, so you can handle the benefits part, such as caregiver.  But, I really dont know, so I can only guess.  And, my guesses are often wrong.  My advice is meant to help, if you find it hurtful, please disregard it entirely.  


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