Temporary voucher program for caregiver respite

Published 11:11 am Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Virginia families who care for a loved one with disabilities or chronic conditions can apply for up to $400 reimbursement for respite costs under a limited voucher program offered by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).

Priority will be given to assisting caregivers for loved ones with dementia, as well as helping grandparents or relative caregivers providing care to a child under the age of 18 or an individual between the ages of 19 to 59 who has a severe disability. Those who qualify and are approved may receive up to $400 reimbursement for costs related to respite. The program will distribute vouchers for reimbursement from a federal grant limited to $118,834, which closes by July 31, 2021.

Respite is short-term, temporary relief for those who care for family members, which can help reduce the strain on caregivers so they can continue to provide for their loved ones.

An estimated 450 families could be helped by the voucher program, part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to support a statewide network of coordinated caregiver respite services. DARS collaborates on the efforts with the Virginia Caregiver Coalition, which works to improve the experience of caregiving through education, advocacy and access to resources.

Respite could be the help a father with Alzheimer’s receives from someone at church who stays with him for a few hours once a week so that his caregiver, his adult daughter, can attend to her family and her health. It could also be the respite a couple whose young son has cerebral palsy receives when the child attends a weeklong overnight summer camp.

Examples of respite services for which families can apply for reimbursement include: An in-home program, where services are provided in the family’s home or a care provider’s home; A center-based program, where family caregivers bring the care recipient (e.g., child, adult, aging individual) to a facility to receive respite care; A child or adult care center, a summer or weekend camp, or family day care home or adult family home which provides temporary care in addition to regular child or adult care services; and assisted living or nursing home respite programs.

To apply for the Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program you must be a Virginia caregiver of a child, or an adult, who reside full-time in your household. The primary caregiver for the person receiving care must apply for the funds. You may receive up to one $400 benefit. You may not use voucher funds to reimburse household expenses or day care; for example, so that the caregiver can go to work.

Not everyone who applies will be approved and those who have benefited from the program in the past will be ineligible for the current program.

For more information on how to apply, visit www.vda.virginia.gov/ vlrv.htm.