Backgrounder Article from  Veterans Affairs Canada

Archived - Family Caregiver Relief Benefit

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Veterans Affairs Canada has created a proposed new benefit to recognize the vital contribution of informal caregivers to the health and well-being of Veterans with a severe and permanent service-related injury. The proposed new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit would provide Veterans with an annual tax-free grant of $7,238. In line with efforts to streamline programs and eliminate red tape‎, this new benefit has been designed to avoid as much paperwork as possible for those who need it. It would provide informal caregivers relief while ensuring that Veterans continue to get the support they need. Many families care for their loved ones at home. Doing so can present new challenges for the Veteran, his or her family, and the caregiver.

Informal caregivers, who are usually spouses, common-law partners, adult children, parents or other family members, support Veterans with a severe and permanent injury by doing things like arranging direct care for the Veteran, making appointments, coordinating household tasks and providing basic assistance with daily living. This proposed benefit would allow the caregiver to take time off and recharge if needed, knowing that someone else will be providing the vital services and support they have been providing.

This funding could be used for relief options such as covering the cost of having a professional caregiver come into the home or covering the cost for another family member or friend to travel to the Veteran’s home. The new benefit is expected to provide relief to approximately 350 spouses or caregivers of the most seriously ill and injured Veterans by 2020.

Example of a Veteran who could benefit from these changes

Marcel is a seriously injured Veteran from Afghanistan. Veterans Affairs already supports him and his family by providing the full cost of in-home care, rehabilitation, retraining and medical support. Yet, while a medical professional is there most of the time, Marcel’s spouse is on duty every day, seven days a week. With today’s announcement, Marcel can use the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit to pay a professional to come into his home full time, allowing his spouse to take a break if needed, to recharge while knowing that someone else is at home fulfilling Marcel’s needs.

A continuum of care

While support for families is the focus of this measure, it must be viewed as part of a full spectrum of services and supports available to Veterans. Benefits and services such as those provided through the Veterans Independence Program (VIP), Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation Program or Health Benefits Program, for example, are designed to help support the needs of ill and injured Veterans.

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