Why we should celebrate the ‘Month of the Military Caregiver’
Have you ever heard of Month of the Military Caregiver? This annual event, which takes place every May, is a time to recognize and support military caregivers. But what does that mean, exactly? Keep reading to learn more about military caregivers and how you can help them.
Here is what you need to know about the Month of the Military Caregiver
Who Are Military Caregivers?
Broadly speaking, a military caregiver care for veterans and service members who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty. This includes physical injuries, mental health conditions, and chronic illnesses. Military caregivers often manage their own families and careers while caring for their loved ones. As you can imagine, this is an incredibly demanding—and often thankless—job.
So why do they do it?
For many military caregivers, taking care of their loved ones is simply something they feel called to do. It's an act of love and devotion that they wouldn't think twice about. However, being a military caregiver is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. These individuals often face various challenges, including financial difficulties, social isolation, and burnout. That's why it's so essential for the rest of us to step up and support them however we can.
How Can We Support Military Caregivers?
There are many ways to support the military caregiver in your community.
One way is to take the time to learn about their experience and listen to their stories. Another way is to offer your help in practical ways, such as running errands or providing childcare. You can also support military caregivers by raising awareness about their experiences and advocating for policies that make their lives easier (such as paid leave policies). Of course, one of the best ways to support military caregivers is to donate to organizations that specifically provide services and assistance.
Disabled Veterans Need Caregivers
When you think of a veteran, what comes to mind? Maybe it's someone who served in the Army or the Marine Corps. Perhaps it's your grandfather who fought in World War II. Or maybe it's your neighbor who served in Afghanistan. Veterans come from all walks of life and have one thing in common: they all serve their country.
Disabled veterans are "veterans whose service-connected disabilities have been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to be 50% or more." In other words, they can no longer lead an everyday, healthy life. That's where a caregiver comes in. The VA offers all kinds of programs so that disabled veterans can get care. The VA provides disability compensation for disabled veterans, as well as health care and other benefits. These benefits can make a massive difference in the lives of disabled veterans and their families.
What Causes Disabilities in Veterans?
Several things can cause disabilities in veterans. Many of these disabilities are from battle. Some common examples include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amputees, and burn victims. In addition, some disabilities are the result of exposure to hazardous materials. Here's what you should know about PTSD awareness.
These injuries can profoundly affect every aspect of a person's life. For example, someone with a TBI may struggle with memory problems or difficulty concentrating. Someone with PTSD may have flashbacks or nightmares. Amputees may have trouble walking or using their hands. Burn victims may suffer from physical pain and disfigurement. As you can see, disabilities can vary significantly in severity and symptoms.
A caregiver can help veterans overcome some of these disabilities. In turn, they're able to lead more enriching lives.
How Can Disabled Veterans Get Care?
The first step is to contact the VA and begin applying for benefits. The VA will gather information about your military service, as well as your medical history and current condition. Once your application has been processed, you will be assigned a disability rating to determine the level of benefits you are eligible for. In some cases, you may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If you are approved for benefits, you will receive monthly payments that can help cover the cost of medical care, housing, and other necessary expenses. In addition, you may be eligible for health care through the VA, as well as dental and eye care, prosthetics, and adaptive equipment. You may also receive job training and placement assistance through the VA if your disability prevents you from working.
The month of the Military Caregiver is a time to come together and support the brave men and women who care for our nation's veterans and service members. If you know a military caregiver in your life, take some time this month—and every month—to thank them for their service. And if you don't know any military caregivers personally, there are still plenty of ways to show your support. Education, awareness-raising, and financial donations are all great starting points. Thank you for doing your part to support our nation's military caregivers!
If you or someone you know is a military caregiver, you might be eligible to receive a primary family caregiver stipend. Visit the VA caregiver website for more information.