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VA Post 9/ll Family Caregiver Benefit

In the first week for open applications, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has assisted more than 625 veterans, servicemembers and their family caregivers in applying for new services under the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act 2010.

“We are off to a good start having helped hundreds to apply, but we know there are thousands more who will qualify and need to apply today,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “I encourage eligible veterans and their family caregivers to apply now to receive the benefits they have earned.”

New services for primary Family Caregivers of eligible post-9/11 veterans include a stipend, mental health services, and access to health care insurance, if they are not already entitled to care or services under a health plan. The stipend portion of this service will be backdated to the date of the application. Comprehensive Caregiver training and medical support are other key components of this program.

VA began processing applications for eligible post-9/11 veterans and service members to designate a primary family caregiver on May 9, 2011.

On top of receiving the 625 plus applications, caregiver support coordinators have also assisted nearly 1,200 other caregivers in finding more than two dozen other caregiver benefits VA provides.

Applications can be processed by telephone through the Caregiver Support Line at (855) 260-3274, in person at a VA medical center with a caregiver support coordinator, by mail or online at with the new Caregiver Application (VA Form 1010-CG). The website application also features a chat option that provides the Family Caregiver with a live representative to assist in completing the application form.

VSO vacation closure

A reminder the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office is closed from May 23 through June 13. I can be reached by e-mail: or my cell phone (970) 946-6648. I prefer e-mail messages. I can also receive text message on my cell phone. Phone call messages require writing down information and call backs (phone chasing) which I may not have time for.

If you are scheduled to use one of the VSO vehicles during my absence, you must see Rob Gaston (970 264-2167) for the keys in the Senior Lunchroom Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday between the hours of 9 and 11:30 a.m. You can send me an e-mail message or a text message to my cell phone to schedule a vehicle. I will have access to the schedule calendar. All messages to me should clearly state your name, phone number, the date of departure and return, destination, and time of your first appointment.

All other matters such as travel pay, VA Health Care, and claims and benefits can wait for my return.

Also, we will return to gas cards in June probably through August for veterans traveling to VA health care appointments. There will be no cash travel money available during that period as we await the approval of our 2011-2012 Colorado Veterans Trust Fund Grant.

Thank you for your patience.

Further information

For information on these and other veteran’s benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd. The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is

The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

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