VA suspends annual caregiver program reassessments

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The Department of Veterans Affairs announced the suspension of annual reassessments for its Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), pending a review of the program’s restructured eligibility criteria.

According to the agency’s press release, during the ongoing review, the VA will not discharge or reduce stipends for any veterans or family caregivers participating in the program. The official announcement follows the VA’s halt on expulsions from the program in March.

“In our effort to uphold our sacred obligation to families of veterans, the VA continues its review of PCAFC to ensure department requirements and procedures meet the needs of caregivers and veterans participating in the program,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

In 2020, with the expansion of the program to severely disabled Vietnam-era veterans, the VA announced new eligibility criteria that led to more veterans being dropped from the program than had previously been anticipated.

“VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers has been a lifeline for tens of thousands, but the unacceptably high rate of denials into and discharges from the program based on new eligibility criteria have been deeply troubling,” said Washington Headquarters Executive Director Randy Reese.

“The VA must develop and implement new PCAFC eligibility criteria and reevaluation requirements that focus on getting veterans and caregivers into the program, not out of it,” said Reese.