A Guide to VA Benefits for Family Caregivers and the Beaudette Class Action (VSO)
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Presenter: Renee Burbank
Length: 99 minutes
Recorded: March 2022
In 2010, Congress established the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) to provide financial assistance to caregivers of seriously injured combat veterans who served after September 11, 2001. In 2018, Congress passed the VA MISSION Act, which expanded eligibility for the program to caregivers of eligible veterans who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty before 9-11. Under PCAFC, the VA provides benefits to caregivers, including a monthly stipend, training, respite care, counseling, technical support, beneficiary travel, and access to health care.
Unfortunately, the VA’s implementation of the program has been flawed, resulting in legal challenges that have led to significant changes in veterans’ and caregivers’ eligibility. NVLSP serves as counsel on two cases challenging the VA’s administration of the program, which have important implications for advocates representing veterans and caregivers. The first, Beaudette v. McDonough, successfully overturned the VA’s regulation that prohibited Caregiver Program decisions from being appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The second, Veteran Warriors Inc. v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, challenges parts of a final rule promulgated by the VA in July 2020 that made it more difficult for certain veterans and their caregivers to receive Caregiver Program benefits.
It is critical for veterans advocates to understand the current rules for PCAFC eligibility, applicants’ rights to appeal decisions, and what regulations and policies may soon change. This webinar will cover:
• VA’s rules on PCAFC eligibility, including changes in VA regulations
• Applicants’ rights to challenge PCAFC decisions, including information about how to appeal PCAFC decisions under both the legacy appeals system and the Appeals Modernization Act
• What we have learned about how VA is processing claims under its current regulations and best practices for advocates
• The status of PCAFC-related litigation and its impact on individual claimants
• Numerous bills pending in Congress and rulemaking petitions to VA that could impact veterans and caregivers