Environmental Registries and Exams
The VA maintains environmental registries for veterans who may have been exposed to hazardous environments or materials. To be placed on a registry, an environmental exam is generally required to establish a veterans baseline health status. These exams are free and no not replace compensation and pension exams. Veterans do not have to file a disability compensation claim to receive the exam. Contact your local VA environmental Health Coordinator about getting your exam.
Certain illnesses are associated with Gulf War service in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations during the first Gulf War starting August 2, 1990 through the conflict in Iraq. VA offers eligible Veterans a free Gulf War Registry Health Exam to find possible long-term health problems related to Gulf War service.
A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.
VA refers to these illnesses as “chronic multi-symptom illness” and “undiagnosed illnesses.” We prefer not to use the term “Gulf War Syndrome” when referring to medically unexplained symptoms reported by Gulf War Veterans. Why? Because symptoms vary widely.
Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry
Military service connection
VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. These “presumptive” illnesses must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling. These illnesses include:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a condition of long-term and severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions.
- Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, and memory problems.
- Functional gastrointestinal disorders, a group of conditions marked by chronic or recurrent symptoms related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Functional condition refers to an abnormal function of an organ, without a structural alteration in the tissues. Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and functional abdominal pain syndrome.
- Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include but are not limited to: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.
Caregiver Stipend Benefit for Family Members
A primary family caregiver stipend is a monetary compensation paid to a primary family caregiver for providing personal care services to an eligible Veteran enrolled in the caregiver program. The stipend is not intended to replace career earnings and receipt of the stipend payments does not create an employment relationship between VA and the primary family caregiver.
Which Veterans are eligible?
- Veteran who sustained a serious injury including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), psychological trauma or other mental disorder incurred or aggravated int he lien of duty on or after September 11, 2001.
- Veterans must need personal care because of an inability to perform one or more activities of daily living and/or need supervision or protection based on symptoms or residuals of neurological impairment injury.
- Veterans must be enrolled for VA health benenfits
- It is in the best interest if the Veteran to participate int he program
- The Veteran agrees ti receive on-going care at home after VA designates a Family Caregiver
- Personal care services which are provided by the Caregiver will not simultaneously be provided through another individual or entity
- At least 18 years of age
- Must be either the Veteran’s souse, son, daughter, parent, step-family member or extended family member or someone who lives with the Veteran full-time.
- Prior to approval, the Caregiver will be provided training and must be able to demonstrate the ability to assist the Veteran with personal care functions required in everyday living
- Veterans may begin the application process by filling out and turning int he application – VA Form 10-10CG. Send to: Family Caregivers Program, Health Eligibility Center, 2957 Clairmont Road NE, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329-1647
- If the Veteran is not already enrolled in VA health care a VA Form 1010EZ will need to be completed.
- Can all caregivers receive the stipend? Only the designated primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran is entitles to receive a stipend and there can only be one primary family caregiver designated at a time.
- Will my primary family caregiver stipend be taxable income? No. The stipend is a VA enhanced service and is not considered taxable income.
- How does the VA determine the stipend amount? It is based on the weekly number of hours of personal care services a veteran requires during the month. It is also based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ hourly wage for a home health aid in the geographic region in which the veteran resides (using the 75th percentile of the wage index times the annual Consumer Price Index Cost of Living adjustment, multiplied by 4.35 which is equal to the number of weeks in the month the Primary Family Caregiver provided care to the eligible Veteran.
- Who determines the number of hours of personal care services a veteran requires? The veterans patient aligned primary care team makes this determination after evaluating the veteran based on the degree to which the eligible veteran is unable to perform one or more activities of daily living, needs supervision or protection i.e. due to a TBI. There are three tiers: high tier equals a maximum of 40 hours of care per week; medium tier equals a maximum of 25 hours per week; low tier equals a maximum of 10 hours of care per week.
- What is the role of the Health Administration Center in the stipend process? The health administration center processes the administrative portion and makes the recurring monthly payments. The payment is retroactive tot he date the application was received at the VA Medical Center.
For more information: 1-877-733-7927 or www.va.gov/hac
Caregiver support line: 1-855-260-3274 or www.caregiver.va.gov