Reacting quickly to complaints of caregivers who had their eligibility for Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) funding revoked, the VA has announced that it will pause revocations while reviewing the program’s implementation. “VA is taking immediate action to review the National Caregiver Support Program to ensure we honor our commitment to enhance the health and well-being of veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin , MD, in a prepared statement. “I have instructed an internal review to evaluate consistency of revocations in the program and standardize communication with veterans and caregivers nationwide.”
An NPR report documented a number of cases of PCAFC support that had been changed recently despite little evidence for change in the veterans’ need for care. According to the NPR analysis, some VA facilities saw significant drops in the number of caregivers who received support; whereas others saw equally significant increases.
According to the VA , veterans who need a VA designated family caregiver to assist with the management of personal care functions that are required for everyday living and are in conjunction with standard care provided by the VA are eligible for the program. A clinical support team evaluates the veteran for eligibility, and the caregiver receives training. The program provides a monthly stipend based on the veterans’ “level of need and required assistance.”
During the review, the VA will continue accepting PCAFC applications, approving applicants based on current eligibility criteria, processing appeals, and monitoring eligible veterans’ well-being at least every 90 days unless otherwise clinically indicated.
“Caregivers play a critically important role in the health and well-being of veterans, and caring for an injured veteran is a labor of love,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, acting VA Under Secretary for Health. “We remain focused on process improvements and support services for our family caregivers so they can take care of our veterans.”