Local veterans lose access to caregiver program

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - Some local veterans are finding out they will no longer benefit from a Veterans Affairs program that supports in-home caregivers.

For years, Henry Gonzales has benefited from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. His family receives a monthly stipend of more than $2,000 to help support his wife and daughter who serve as his caregivers. 

"Since I came back my PTSD got worse, major depression," Gonzales said, "Things intensify for me and I just cry for help." 

Gonzales recently received a letter informing him he would be terminated from the program that helps support his caregivers. 

"It feels like a slap in the face because I struggle in my mind, I struggle trying to cope with life," Gonzales said. 

13 Action News discovered Gonzales isn't the only local veteran who received a similar letter. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a statement explaining the Caregiver Support Program is under review at VA sites across the nation. "As a result, all local participants in Caregiver Support Program are currently being reviewed against federal guidelines," the statement read. 

The statement explained veterans could see a change in their eligibility. Those who are found to no longer qualify can appeal. Gonzales plans to do so. 

""There's a chance that they might not okay it, but if not for me, maybe for other veterans to learn off this," Gonzales said. "I wish people would understand what they went through and what they're still going through." 

The Department of Veterans Affairs full statement is below: 

The Department of Veterans Affairs is not cutting back on its Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. The VA, both locally and nationally, continues to accept applications for the program and approve or disapprove applications in adherence to national VA eligibility criteria.

 
The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, along with other several other VA sites across the nation, is  conducting an internal review of the program to ensure participation is in accordance with national law and VA directives. As a result, all local participants in Caregiver Support Program are currently being reviewed against federal guidelines. While many individuals may see no change to their current eligibility, some participants may see a change in their eligibility tier (i.e. resulting in receiving either a higher or lower monthly stipend), or be determined to no longer meet program criteria.
 
The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System has been transparent and communicated with participants throughout the process and anyone who doesn't agree with a change of status has the right to appeal the VA’s decision within 30 days. Every Veteran's situation is unique and as such, approvals, disapprovals and changes are managed on a case-by-case basis. Veterans and caregivers who have questions about eligibility or their status, should contact the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Caregiver Support Program Office for assistance.

 

 
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