Note: MOAA Premium and Life members can access Military Caregivers: An Overview, a webinar featuring experts from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation about the basics of military caregiving. Click here for a list of other archived MOAA webinars.
The family members who quietly serve by supporting a veteran’s daily needs can find guidance and assistance through the VA’s Caregiver Support Line, which answers as many as 350 calls a day.
The hotline, hosted by the VA since 2011, connects veteran caregivers with responders who are professional social workers, trained counselors and experienced case managers. They help caregivers find resources inside the VA and community.
“It’s easy for many caregivers to feel jumbled up,” Colin Gooley, a responder for the Caregiver Support Line, said in a recent VA blog post about the line. “They feel really overwhelmed and they don’t know which direction to go, or that they don’t have anyone to really hear them out.”
You can reach the VA’s Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274. Learn more about the service, and find other support services, here. Besides counseling, the hotline also hosts monthly educational seminars to give self-care tips to caregivers.
More Caregiver Support
In conjunction with National Veterans Month, November is also National Family Caregivers Month, a time to honor the thousands of family members who help veterans with daily support – from picking up prescriptions to talking with doctors to understanding the veteran’s medical care needs. MOAA has long advocated for improved military caregiver services, both on its own and as part of The Military Coalition (TMC), a group of military and veteran service organizations with similar legislative agendas.
One of the benchmark pieces of veteran benefits legislation, the 2018 MISSION Act, included an expansion of the VA’s caregiver program. The VA missed its deadline to certify the IT caregiver management system last month, but MOAA and the TMC continue to work with the VA to meet goals set by the MISSION Act, avoid further delays for implementing the act’s provisions, and ensure funding is available to address technological concerns.
As servicemembers who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan return home and join generations of previous veterans, MOAA recognizes that many will require long-term caregiving support. MOAA has partnered with The Elizabeth Dole Foundation to create Tips for Lifelong Caregiving, an online guide full of resources for military caregivers and their families, from financial assistance to tutorials on applying for benefits.
“The personal impact of providing care is enormous, the physical and emotional toll can be substantial, and navigating through the policies and procedures of various government agencies can be overwhelming,” MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), said in an introductory letter to the guide, calling it MOAA’s “small contribution to share information and best practices with the cadre of caregivers whose contributions are essential for the care of our military servicemembers and veterans.”