VA Publishes Proposed Caregiver Program Regulations
On March 6, VA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would improve and standardize VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) and ensure the program’s regulations reflect changes required by the VA MISSION Act of 2018.
In the proposed rule, VA seeks to standardize eligibility by expanding the definition of serious injury to include any service-connected disability that is rated at 70 percent or more by VA or is combined with any other service-connected disability or disabilities, and a combined rating of 70 percent or more is assigned by VA; defining what it means to be in need of personal care services; and ensuring that the eligibility criteria capture the personal care service needs of veterans and service members with cognitive or neurological impairment or mental health conditions, among other things.
Additionally, VA is proposing changes to the stipend payment methodology, definitions for financial planning and legal services, and procedures for revocation and discharge, to include advance notice requirements aimed at improving communication between VA and PCAFC participants.
The regulation also accounts for the VA MISSION Act’s expansion of eligibility for the PCAFC to eligible veterans from all eras, beginning with those who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975. Two years after the first phase of program expansion, PCAFC will include eligible veterans who were seriously injured in the line of duty after May 7, 1975, and before September 11, 2001. Prior to expanding, VA must fully implement an information technology system required by the VA MISSION Act.
The proposed rule is open for public comment for 60 days. Written comments must be received on or before May 5. PVA will be submitting comments on the proposed changes to the program.