What Are VA Benefits for Caregivers?
VA caregiver benefits are a lifeline to family members caring for U.S. veterans who have serious illnesses like mesothelioma.
Caregivers suffering from burnout or financial struggles can use these VA benefits to support their well-being and provide better care for veterans.
VA benefits for family caregivers provide:
- Education and training
- Financial stipends
- Mental health counseling
By accessing these resources, caregivers can get the support and financial aid they deserve, and more effectively help veterans with mesothelioma.
Learn how to access VA caregiver benefits for mesothelioma and financial aid in our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.
Mesothelioma VA Caregiver Support Programs
Those caring for veterans diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma can find support through two main VA programs: the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) and the Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS).
Each program offers different forms of support, depending on the needs of the veteran and their caregiver. Learn more about PCAFC and PGCSS below.
Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
The PCAFC offers support for family caregivers of eligible veterans. This includes one primary caregiver and up to two secondary caregivers, who are appointed by the veteran.
The program provides services such as health insurance, financial aid, mental health care, and respite care services. VA benefits can vary depending on if you’re a primary or secondary family caregiver.
You may be eligible for PCAFC if you:
- Are a spouse, child, or extended family member of the veteran
- Live full-time with the veteran OR are willing to live full-time with the veteran to become their caregiver
The veteran you’re caring for must also:
- Have VA health care or enroll in it
- Have a VA disability rating of 70% or higher (mesothelioma veterans are rated 100%)
- Need a minimum of 6 months of constant care
Program of General Caregiver Support Services
The PGCSS is a slightly different program in that anyone can qualify. You don’t have to be a spouse or relative and you don’t have to live with the veteran, unlike in the PCAFC.
To join the program, the veteran you’re caring for must be enrolled in the VA health care system. From there, the veteran must appoint you as their general caregiver.
Through the PGCSS, caregivers can:
- Access helpful resources
- Improve their caregiving skills
- Get support and mentoring from other caregivers
- Work with a care team to help the veteran
If you need help accessing caregiver VA benefits for mesothelioma, contact us now. Our VA-accredited team can help you file a claim and get the benefits you need.
Types of VA Caregiver Benefits for Mesothelioma
There are many VA disability caregiver benefits, including access to training and education programs, mental health services, and travel and financial aid services.
Access to Training and Education Programs
As a caregiver of a veteran, you may gain access to training and education programs.
These programs can teach you caregiving skills such as:
- Communicating with veterans with dementia
- Meal preparation
- Personal hygiene
- Time management
The VA offers telephone, online, and in-person training and education programs so caregivers can attend when it’s most convenient for them.
Mental Health Counseling Services
Primary and secondary caregivers can receive mental health counseling services.
VA counselors can teach caregivers how to:
- Deal with stress
- Manage emotions and physical health
- Understand their feelings better
The VA also offers programs and workshops where you can meet other caregivers for advice and support.
Travel and Financial Assistance Benefits
Primary and secondary caregivers can also receive travel and financial aid when going with the veteran to appointments as part of the PCAFC.
VA Caregiver Benefits Stipends
The main caregiver of a veteran can expect to receive a monthly financial stipend under the PCAFC. They can use VA caregiver benefits to pay to buy supplies or hire services to take care of the veteran.
This is a notable VA spousal caregiver benefit, as it allows a veteran’s husband or wife to provide care while lessening financial worries.
Health Care Benefits
As part of the PCAFC, the primary family caregiver also gets access to health care insurance through the CHAMPVA if they don’t already have health insurance.
Yearly Respite Care
The primary caregiver will also receive at least 30 days of respite care per year with the PCAFC. Through respite care, a third party temporarily helps a veteran while the primary caregiver takes a break to recharge.
VA Geriatrics and Extended Care Services
With VA Geriatrics and Extended Care, trained health care professionals share some of the responsibilities of caregiving with a veteran’s caregiver.
VA Geriatrics and Extended Care programs include:
- Adult Day Health Care
- In-home health care from nurses
- Homemaker services
- Hospice and palliative care
- Temporary or full-time nursing home care
Learn more about VA Geriatrics and Extended Care programs and how they can help.
How to Apply for Caregiver Benefits from the VA
If you’re caring for a veteran with mesothelioma, follow these steps to apply for VA caregiver benefits.
Remember that you must be enrolled in VA health care benefits before you and the veteran can get these benefits.
1. Set a Time to Apply
You and the veteran you love should pick a time to apply for VA mesothelioma caregiver benefits together. Applying at the same time in the same place makes it easier and helps avoid mistakes.
2. Apply for Benefits
The application process varies slightly depending on if you’re applying for PCAFC or PGCSS.
Here’s how to apply for VA caregiver benefits for mesothelioma:
- For the PCAFC, you must fill out VA Form 10-10CG. You can file by mail or bring the form to a VA medical center’s caregiver support coordinator.
- For the PGCSS, you must undergo an informal intake with help from a local caregiver support coordinator.
The Mesothelioma Hope team has fellow veterans and VA-accredited attorneys on staff who can help you access VA caregiver benefits for mesothelioma as well as monthly compensation. Learn more about how we can help your family in our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.
3. Wait for a Benefits Determination
Once you’ve applied for VA caregiver benefits for mesothelioma, you must wait for a decision. After the VA confirms enrollment, you can start using the benefits to take better care of the veteran you love.
Get Help Accessing VA Caregiver Benefits for Mesothelioma
Loved ones caring for veterans with mesothelioma often experience burnout, especially if their loved one requires 24/7 care.
Fortunately, VA caregiver benefits for mesothelioma can help caregivers of disabled veterans immensely by providing emotional and financial aid. Even more importantly, veterans with mesothelioma can receive better care as a result.
Mesothelioma Hope stands ready to help you and your family access VA caregiver benefits for mesothelioma along with other medical and financial VA resources.
Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide for more information on how to get started.
VA Caregiver Benefits for Mesothelioma FAQs
Is mesothelioma a VA disability?
Yes, and it’s a serious one. The VA considers VA mesothelioma a 100% qualifying disability in almost all cases.
This means that veterans with mesothelioma qualify for the highest financial benefits, low-cost or free medical services, and VA caregiver benefits.
It is not hard to get approved for the VA caregiver program. You just need to ensure you and the caregiver(s) meet all eligibility requirements.
How much will the VA pay my wife to be my caregiver?
This depends on a wide range of factors, most notably where you live and how severe your illness is. There are two disability levels to a VA stipend under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC).
For example, if you live in Dallas, Texas, your caregiver will get $1,818.54 monthly under Level 1 and $2,909.67 per month under Level 2 as of 2022. If you have mesothelioma, your caregiver may qualify for Level 2 payouts more easily since this is a life-threatening cancer.
Contact our team to learn how much your caregiver could receive through VA spouse caregiver benefits or general caregiver benefits.
How long does it take for the VA to approve a caregiver?
The VA will want to designate a caregiver within 90 days of receiving an application.
To help ensure that the approval process goes smoothly, The VA will assess both the veteran and potential caregiver. The caregiver must also complete a required training course provided by the VA.
How much do veterans get for mesothelioma?
As of 2024, married veterans with mesothelioma can get nearly $4,000 a month or more through VA disability compensation.
They may qualify for more money through VA caregiver benefit programs or by filing private compensation claims.
Call (866) 608-8933 to learn how much you could receive through VA caregiver benefits for mesothelioma.