In the News: The Veteran’s MISSION Act and Impact on Caregivers

The Veterans Affairs (VA) Mission Act of 2018 expands the private healthcare access for veterans and the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

The $52 billion approved in this Act is a significant investment in our veterans’ healthcare and the much-needed family caregiver support.

The expansion of the caregiver assistance will allow all veterans, no matter the date of injury, to be eligible. We’ve provided a helpful summary below of what this change means.

What is the VA Mission Act?

The “John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018,”—referred to as the “VA MISSION Act,”—will also strengthen VA health care and consolidate VA’s community care programs; provide supplemental funding to continue the current Choice program for another year; give the VA new tools to hire and retain quality health care professionals; and develop a long-term plan to realign and modernize VA’s health care infrastructure.

What is the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers?

We outlined a profile of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers in a previous post.

In summary, it provides certain medical, travel, training, and financial benefits to caregivers of certain veterans and service members who were seriously injured during service on or after September 11, 2001.

This program offers a lifeline to families across the country by providing those veterans with the ability to remain in a comforting home environment surrounded by loved ones while receiving support from a dedicated Family Caregiver. The MISSION Act will expand eligibility to all veterans.

How Many Veteran Caregivers May Be Eligible?

It is estimated that 4.4 million family caregivers of veterans who served prior to 9/11 will now be eligible for support from the Veterans Administration.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that from this expansion of eligibility, approximately 60,000 additional veterans at a cost of $6.7 billion may be reached.

How Much Can a Family Caregiver Receive?

Under the current caregiver program, relatives or friends who care for eligible veterans can receive a stipend, training, access to health insurance, counseling and respite care.

In 2017, caregivers received between $7,800 and $30,000 a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The stipends are not considered taxable income.

How To Find Out If You Are Eligible

Through VA's Caregiver Support Line and Caregiver Support Coordinators, you can find the support you need to provide the Veteran you care for with the best care at home. Both resources can help you find resources that are close to your home. To find your coordinator, visit the VA website or call 1-855-260-3274.

Check your eligibility for this program if you are a caregiver for a veteran. There are many resources available so take your time to research them all.