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VA expands program for family caregivers

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center (OGJVAMC) moved forward with the plan set forth by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) on Oct. 1.

The expansion of PCAFC will include eligible Veterans that have a single or combined service-connected disability rating by VA of 70% or higher, regardless of whether it resulted from an injury, illness or disease.

This is a notable change to the definition of serious injury from the current regulations, among other improvements aimed at standardizing the PCAFC and improving transparency in the program.

“The expanded regulation addresses the complexity and expense of keeping Veterans at home with their families who provide personalized care,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This will allow our most vulnerable Veterans to stay with their loved ones for as long as possible.”

Expansion of VA’s PCAFC to eligible Veterans of earlier eras will occur in two phases. The first phase has begun and will include eligible Veterans who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty in the active, military, naval or air service on or before May 7, 1975. Phase two will go into effect in approximately two years and will include eligible Veterans of all eras.

Expanding the program and eligibility for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers ensures we can continue to meet the changing needs of America’s Veterans and their caregivers.” Wilke added.

Additionally, the new regulation will change the PCAFC stipend payment methodology, define new procedures for revocation and discharge, and include certain advance notice requirements aimed at improving communication between VA and PCAFC participants.

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