Your parent spent their lives serving our country. Now they need someone to take care of them. As the primary family caregiver, you play a vital role in caring for your parent’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Many adult children wonder how to get paid to be a caregiver for their parents. After all, caring daily for a loved one takes a massive financial and physical toll. Read more to find out how to get paid, the family caregiver pay rate, and what you need to do to receive vital assistance from the VA.
If you are the primary family caregiver, you may be eligible for monthly compensation. Your parent will need to enroll in the Caregiver Support Program. Your family member must be an eligible veteran. There are a few qualifications for being eligible for this program:
The primary family caregiver must be at least 18 years old. The care recipient can designate a secondary caregiver. While the secondary caregiver does not receive the same benefits as the primary caregiver, they might be eligible for voluntary counseling, training, financial assistance, and lodging.
The caregiver must be a spouse, child, parent, stepfamily member, or extend family of the Veteran, or live full time with the Veteran (or being willing to live full time with the Veteran).
In addition to receiving monthly benefits, the Primary Family Caregiver might be eligible for CHAMPA, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran Affairs. Caregiving takes a lot of energy. Because of this, the VA might also provide up to thirty days of respite yearly. The stipend and benefits are not taxable income.
VA bases stipend payments on the definition of “monthly stipend rate." Payments will vary based on the location where the veteran lives.
VA will pay different monthly amounts to caregivers of Veterans who suffer from different levels of disability.
Level 1 payments will be paid to caregivers of veterans who need substantial care but are more capable than the most disabled cohort. Level 1 payments are 62.5% of the monthly stipend rate.
Level 2 payments will go to caregivers of veterans who cannot "self-sustain in the community," meaning they require continuous supervision and help with three or more daily activities. Level 2 payments are 100% of the monthly stipend rate.
The Veteran's Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) will evaluate their dependency. As part of the assessment, the level of activity veterans can do themselves each day (ie. whether they can dress, bathe, and groom themselves, adjust a prosthetic or orthotic device on their own, go to the bathroom without assistance, feed themselves, need help moving around their homes, etc.). After evaluation, the PACT determines the level of care needed:
The final stipend amount for the Primary Family Caregiver is determined by this formula:
The VA measures the family caregiver pay rate based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Skill code 311011 rate for home health aides based on the geographic region. Once the VA approves the application, the Primary Family will receive payments. The payments backdate retroactively from when you first applied for the stipend.
This amount is for a veteran that is deemed “unable to self-sustain” without help, or Level 2. For veterans that are Level 1 (or able to self-sustain) the caregiver receives up to 62.5% of the monthly stipend rate.
The entire application process should take approximately ninety days. At the end of ninety days, the VA will contact you with the result of the application review. If you have any issues, contact the office and a representative can help answer your questions about your application.
Like with many government assistance programs, family caregivers must follow a tedious application process to receive benefits. You must apply together with your veteran parent. Your parent must enroll in the VA health care program for you to receive any benefits. Even if you do not receive the monthly stipend, the VA does offer many other services and support. Call the Caregiver Support Line at (855) 260-3274 for additional help and to connect with a local Caregiver Support Coordinator.
If you have had trouble in the past or want help in the future accessing VA caregiver benefits, Givers can help you streamline the entire process.