How are you doing? This deceptively simple question can pack a mighty punch for the caregivers that call VA’s Caregiver Support Line (CSL). The national call center can be a lifeline to ensure the health and wellbeing of Veterans and their caregivers. This applies whether the callers are in crisis or need a link to local support services.

“It’s easy for many caregivers to feel jumbled up. 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,” said Colin Gooley, a CSL responder. “Helping caregivers process their situation is a big role we play.”

Responders are mental health counselors

Responders are professional social workers. They are trained counselors in mental health therapy and experienced case managers used to matching caregivers with available resources both inside VA and within the community. In addition to offering those “just-in-time” services, the responders help counter the feelings of isolation many caregivers experience.

The CSL creates a sense of community for caregivers through monthly telephone education groups and referrals to the VA Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring program. They also assist with the Building Better Caregivers online workshop and through individual coaching sessions through VA’s REACH program.

With 2.4 million Veterans receiving caregiver assistance, caregivers don’t have to the navigate the journey alone.

250-350 caregiver calls on a typical day

On a typical day, the support line serves between 250 and 350 caregivers. Calls last from 10 minutes to one hour, depending on the caller’s needs. The longer calls are more typical of a counseling session.

“Callers can provide as much or as little information as they want,” said Colin. “But it can be helpful if we have some information about the Veteran’s circumstances or the situation of the caregiver. It helps to know where they are located, if they or the Veteran is enrolled in VA health care and what kind of services they’re looking for.”

Follow-up calls to users indicate caller satisfaction is above 90 percent, meaning nine out of 10 callers have had their needs met. Caregivers should call, even If you don’t know what to expect or feel your concerns are too small to bother a responder.

The call center welcomes your calls. Throughout the year, but especially during November, which is National Family Caregivers Month, we encourage you to call and introduce yourself to the CSL. Calling can make a difference; it can help bring you a sense a peace.

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13 Comments

  1. Hawaii female veteran November 26, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    I would like to say thank you for extending the commissary and PX privileges for all service connected veterans. Hawaii is an expensive place and this benefit will definitely help. Also, i look forward to going to the gas station and furniture store.

  2. john Hoppman November 26, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    I recently was awarded 100% for PTSD . My wife controls all the finances and such , I was told to put her on as my care giver . How do I do this ?

  3. Dore Mobley November 21, 2019 at 9:18 am

    The phone number for the Caregiver Support Line is 1-855-260-3274.

  4. Eugene Weiner November 19, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    I got very ill on active duty. Help please

  5. Alfred Cichon November 19, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    It is interesting / odd – that the number for the support liner is not provided in the article

    • Austin Martinez November 20, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      CSL (Caregiver Support Line) unless it has changed, is 1-855-260-3274.

      Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-11 p.m. ET
      Saturday 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. ET

      Friend and member of the Veteran Community.

  6. Harvey Jacobson November 19, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I am 85+ Korean War Veteran.

    I am a patient of the Oncology Department.
    I do not drive and have to rely on friends
    I am not physically impaired but could certainly appreciate rides to my medical appoints
    Is this a possibility
    Harvey – (redacted)

  7. Lisa A. Ducharme November 19, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    This is a good program, but many things will not be available to pre-9/11 veterans until the Summer of 2020..
    https://www.caregiver.va.gov/docs/Caregiver-Support-Program-FAQ_10172019.pdf#

    Any caregiver can call the Caregiver Support line if you have any questions or just need to talk!

    Each VA Medical Center has a Caregiver Support Coordinator available to assist you with enrolling in these programs. For help, contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator using the Caregiver Support Coordinator search tool, or call the VA Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274 (toll free 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET).

    I’d also like to point out another great resource, which is Hidden Heroes, I always highly encourage all caregivers to sign up, they have over 200 resources and assistance. https://hiddenheroes.org/

    https://caregiverjourney.elizabethdolefoundation.org/

  8. Trent Lee Boef November 19, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Hello,
    I’m a 20 year retired US Navy vet.and have a 60% disability. Is there a program that I can get rental assistance or placement in a assisted living facility? I am in a rehab and care center in Upland, Ca. and my Tricare insurance is about to discharge me. Right now I have had trouble walking. I have a 2nd story apartment in San Dimas,Ca and it’s hard going up and down the stairs.

    Thank you.

    • Lisa Ducharme November 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm

      Hi Trent,
      Have you tried reaching out to your Veteran Affairs office in CA? I hear they are a great resource http://hs.sbcounty.gov/va/Pages/Locations.aspx
      They can usually assist with local issues or help you get into an assisted living facility. Since you are retired US Navy, have you looked at the difference between Tricare and US Family Health for your insurance? You might want to see which program is best for you.
      I expect the Veteran Affairs office will be able to assist you, but if not these coordinators can help you provide permanent, affordable housing to the homeless – I expect they might be able to connect you to the right person. https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/homeless-coordinators.asp#visn21
      Thank you for your service!

  9. John R. Alaniz November 19, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I am a Retired/Disabled Veteran and I would like to know if there is a special Caregiver program out there? My wife has been my caregiver for over 10 years and we can’t seem to find a caregiver program for her to look into and get some financial aide. It is taking all of the funds we have just to make it day to day. I am 100% Disabled. Please get back to me if you can. Thank you!

    • Lisa A. Ducharme November 19, 2019 at 6:09 pm

      John, Hidden Heroes is a good resource for your wife, and they can also help with Aid and Attendance, it sounds like you might qualify and can also assist with getting your wife some rest. They have over 200 resources and assistance. https://hiddenheroes.org/resources/

      https://caregiverjourney.elizabethdolefoundation.org/

      I don’t know what state you are in, but please look to see who your Veteran Service Officers are, they can also be a great resource for community resources to assist you and your wife.

      Thank you for your service!

  10. Col. Bobby Moorhatch November 19, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    It is a great article,but what is the telephone number to contact the VA Caregiver Support Counselors? I know my eyes are bad, but somehow I apparently missed it. Please advise. Col. Bobby

Comments are closed.

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