Q & A - The VA Caregiver Program
Are "Secondary" Caregivers mandatory?

No, they are not.  The majority of caregivers currently going through the system aren't designating secondary
caregivers.

If my veteran is still employed do I qualify?  

Yes, you may still qualify.  This is not an automatic "no".

If I am not able to work because of my veteran's needs, do I qualify?  

This is a VERY good indication that you probably qualify.  You should apply right away.

How long does the process take?

It can be as short as three weeks, sometimes 45 days.  It depends on how long it takes you to complete the
training and how quickly a home visit can be scheduled.

Does my veteran's disability rating affect my approval?

No.

Will this affect my veteran's C&P rating?  

No.  This is a completely separate process and does not change his or her rating.

What about respite care?  

Respite care is a service available to veterans of all eras.  It is support for a veteran done to assist the caregiver
and give relief.  It gives them a break.  Options include: Institutional Respite with 24/7 care, Outpatient Day Care,
and In-Home Options.  Different options are available for different areas of the country depending on local needs.

They say I get health insurance - what kind of coverage?  

You will receive CHAMPVA coverage if you do not have pre-existing insurance.  You will get your insurance card
at about the same time you get your first "pay stub" explaining your first stipend payment.  Same benefits as
anyone else with CHAMPVA benefits.  If you qualify for the program, you qualify for the insurance (but cannot
have CHAMPVA if you already have another insurance plan).

What if I'm paying for a private insurance plan?  Can I cancel it and get CHAMPVA?

The VA recommends that you don't and the reason for this is because if for some reason you ever stopped being
your veteran's caregiver, you would be without insurance.  However, if you choose to stop paying for your private
insurance you can then get coverage under CHAMPVA.  Just remember that you do so with the previously
mentioned risk.

Are the travel expenses in addition to my veteran's or in substitution of his or her travel pay?

Reimbursement for travel expenses and mileage is one payment.  If there is lodging, meals, etc. involved (where
there are additional expenses since two of you are present) then it will be two payments to cover both people.