va caregiver program
General Military Questions

VA Caregiver Program: 7 Things To Know

The VA caregiver program gives back to military dependents of veterans that served the country.

As a result, clinical services are available to eligible caregivers.

The VA Caregiver Support Program (CSP) promotes the health and well-being of all family caregivers through a variety of resources and support.

Are you interested in applying for the VA caregiver program?

Get all the details about CSP, including requirements to join the program.

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#1. Purpose

veterans caregiver program

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) created the VA caregiver program to give back to military dependents.

For this reason, the Veteran Affairs (VA) Caregiver Support Program (CSP) provides clinical services, resources, and support to eligible caregivers.

The VA caregiver program is designed to provide health and wellness for caregivers of eligible and covered veterans already enrolled in the VA health care system.

As a result, the purpose of the program is to promote health and well-being of family caregivers that watch over our nation’s veterans.

Even better, Veteran Affairs (VA) recently expanded the caregiver program to offer services for dependents of any era (including prior to 1975).

Now, eligible family caregivers of veterans from all eras can apply for the program.

In general, the VA caregiver program is divided into 2 separate organizations:

  • Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS)
  • Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)

The VA Caregiver Support Program features a variety of education, services, resources, and support, so do not hesitate to reach out!

CSP team members are accessible at VA locations throughout the country.

Before you get too far, however, make sure you meet the requirements (more information, below) for admission.

What are personal care services?

Personal care services are what veterans need from another individual, or caregiver.

Therefore, personal care services range depending on the specific needs of the individual.

For starters, personal care services include quality access to education and resources about health and wellness.


Additionally, personal care services should meet the basic, everyday needs of veterans.

These can include duties like feeding, bathing, and dressing.

Lastly, personal care services also deliver instruction and safety information for daily living.

It’s easy to feel like you are on an island when you sacrifice as a caregiver, which makes the community support (individual coaching and peer support) so vital.

#2. Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS)

The Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS) is a part of the VA caregiver program.

As such, PGCSS offers peer support mentoring, skills training, coaching, and access to other resources.

In general, these are the benefits family caregivers can expect from the PGCSS:

  • Skills Training
  • 1-on-1 Coaching
  • Group Coaching
  • Peer Support
  • Mobile Support
  • Respite Care

Respite care, or the ability to get caregiver relief when you need to run errands or simply need a break, is a really great luxury.

In order to qualify, caregivers must provide services for a veteran that is currently enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) health care.

It’s important to mention that the caregiver does not have to be a relative or resident with the veteran.

The PGCSS defines a “general caregiver” as a person that provides personal care services to a veteran.

The veteran may need assistance with one or more activities of daily living hence the need for direct supervision.

Thanks to the program, general caregivers may connect with others that go through the same struggles and frustrations.

What’s more is the Program of General Caregiver Support Services includes resources on how to improve your skills as a caregiver.

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#3. Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)

The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) is the second type of service available for dependents.

The program features enhanced clinical support for family caregivers of eligible veterans.

In general, veterans apply for PCAFC in the event they sustained or aggravated a serious injury or illness in the line of duty.

The applicant must:

  • Have a single or combined service-connected disability rating by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) of 70% or more, AND
  • Be in need of personal care services that require in-person visits for a minimum of 6 continuous months.

Furthermore, veterans that qualify for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers:

  • Present an inability to perform an activity of daily living.
  • Requires a need for supervision or protection based on symptoms or residuals of neurological or other impairment or injury, OR
  • Requires a need for regular or extensive instruction or supervision without which the ability of the veteran to function in daily life would be seriously impaired.

Veterans may designate 1 Primary Family Caregiver as well as up to 2 Secondary Family Caregivers under PCAFC.

In general, Secondary Family Caregivers are available and offer backup support when the Primary Caregiver is not available.

The services of the program vary depending on if you are receiving primary or secondary benefits:

Primary Caregiver Benefits

Primary Caregivers receive the following services and benefits under PCAFC:

  • Monthly Stipend
  • Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) Health Coverage
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Travel Rewards
  • Respite Care (30 days per year)

Discover the 15 Best States for Military Retirees and Veterans.

Secondary Caregiver Benefits

Meanwhile, Secondary Caregivers are entitled to the following benefits thanks to the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers:

  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Health & Wellness Education
  • Travel Rewards & Benefits

Subscribe to receive email updates from Veteran Affairs (VA) regarding the caregiver support program.

#4. Requirements of VA Caregiver Program

veterans caregiver requirements and benefits

Before you get too far, you’ll want to make sure you are eligible for the VA caregiver program.

First, the veteran must be enrolled in the Veteran Affairs (VA) health care system to qualify.

There are other requirements for veterans to remain eligible for caregiver service:

  • Veteran has a VA disability rating (individual or combined) of 70% or higher, AND
  • The veteran was discharged from the U.S. military or has an anticipated date of medical discharge, AND
  • The veteran needs at least 6 months of continuous, in-home personal care services.

Secondly, primary caregivers and secondary caregivers are eligible if they are over the age of 18.

Third, one of the following must apply to your circumstances as a caregiver:

  1. You’re immediate family (spouse, son, daughter, parent, or step-family member) or extended family, OR
  2. You live full-time with a veteran or are willing to live full-time with a veteran to become a designated family caregiver.

What happens if you do not qualify for the VA caregiver program because of circumstances related to the veteran?

Family caregivers may still receive support and resources by discussing their options with a local Caregiver Support Coordinator (CSC).

#5. Eligible Caregivers

The VA caregiver program allows veterans to appoint more than one caregiver.

It’s important to take advantage of this luxury since multiple people in the family can benefit from the program.

In general, a qualifying veteran may appoint:

  • 1 Primary Family Caregiver
  • 2 Secondary Family Caregivers

The Primary Family Caregiver is designated as the main caregiver responsible for providing personal care services.

Meanwhile, Secondary Family Caregivers are reserved as backups when the Primary Caregiver needs a substitute or assistance.

Primary Caregivers receive a monthly stipend as well as health insurance directly through the VA.

However, Secondary Caregivers must seek health insurance elsewhere while still having access to certain benefits (travel, education, training, counseling).

The opportunity to get at least 30 days of respite care each year is much needed for Primary Caregivers.

#6. How to Apply

Are you eligible for the VA caregiver program?

If so, make sure not to waste another moment applying so you can begin to receive benefits.

In general, the caregiver will need to apply with the veteran.

There are a few different options for submitting an application:

  • Online
  • Mail
  • In-Person

Applying online is the quickest and easiest method.

However, some individuals may prefer to meet with a CSP Team/Caregiver Support Coordinator.

The CSP Caregiver Support Coordinator can assist you with the application process as well as answer any questions or concerns.

There is no formal application process to enroll in the Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS).

Rather, complete the following steps to begin the application process:

  1. Contact a CSP Team/Caregiver Support Coordinator or request a referral from the veteran’s health provider.
  2. Complete an intake with the VA facility CSP Team/Caregiver Support Coordinator.
  3. Enroll in PGCSS and begin to utilize the peer support and clinical services available.

It’s important to mention that you’ll need to submit a new application every time you decide to add or change a primary/secondary caregiver.

Finally, to apply by mail, you’ll need to download, print, and complete VA Form 10-10CG.

Veteran Affairs requests that applicants do not send medical records along with the application.

Instead, the VA will contact you with any follow-up questions once the application is received.

The mailing address to send the completed application:

PGCSS Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Road NE, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329-1647

Do you want to check the status of a submitted application?

Contact the VA at 1-855-488-8440, option 3.

#7. Customer Service

va caregiver customer support

Do you have additional questions about the VA caregiver program?

The VA established its Caregiver Support Line (CSL) for assistance.

As such, veterans and family caregivers may reach customer service at 1-855-260-3274.

The toll-free number is available Monday – Friday (8am – 10pm ET) as well as Saturday (8am – 5pm ET).

Additionally, veterans have the option of meeting with a CSP Team/Caregiver Support Coordinator in-person.

CSP Team/Caregiver Support Coordinators are available at VA facilities.


The VA caregiver program provides valuable services and resources for family caregivers.

Currently, Veteran Affairs (VA) features 2 different programs:

  • Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS)
  • Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)

There are different requirements for each VA caregiver program, so make sure you are eligible.

Veterans may designate 1-3 primary and secondary caregivers depending on the program.

The benefits include health care, mental health counseling, 1on1 coaching, and peer support.

Rob V.
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The VA caregiver program was created to help give back to military dependents.

Originally posted on November 5, 2022 @ 7:27 pm

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