Family caregivers of wounded, ill or injured warriors face many challenges while routinely supporting and caring for their Veteran loved ones. Their jobs have become even harder during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why VA and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF) offer Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers. The program provides 40,000 hours of free home health care to more than 1,600 Veteran families.

With many injured or ill Veterans at higher risk for COVID-19 infection, caregivers are taking on extra duties because of travel restrictions and lack of child care. Those and a variety of other factors mean they have more to do with even less time to care for their loved ones.

These extra duties interfere with caregivers’ ability to take a break from their work and have time for themselves.

Through the new partnership with EDF, $1 million in no-cost, short-term respite care will be donated through CareLinx, a nationwide online home-care platform. The donation was organized through the VHA Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) and VA Caregiver Support Providers.

Caregivers in Florida, Texas and California can apply

Veteran caregivers in Florida, Texas and California can apply to receive approximately 24 hours of relief from a qualified in-home care professional from CareLinx’s caregiver network for their Veteran. These care professionals will be able to perform daily living tasks such as cooking, mobility assistance, transportation and bathing.

“We know that our family caregivers of Veterans are some of the hardest working people around. But they need help, and partnerships like this can deliver that help,” said Suzanne Shirley. Shirley is director of Partnerships & Community Engagement for VHA IE. “We’re so excited to help the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and CareLinx provide this much-needed support for America’s Veterans and their caregivers.”

VA’s efforts to support Veterans and their caregivers will not stop here. Through the VHA IE, VA will use this program as a basis to launch a new partnership model for how public and private sectors can work together during times of crisis to support military and Veteran families.

We will also be challenging other companies and organizations to contribute to the Respite Relief Fund to help even more military and Veteran families in need.

Caregivers interested in applying to the Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers program can find more information here.

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