Veterans Benefits

Understanding VA family and caregiver benefits

Jessica Evans Avatar
tricare caregiver benefits

Defense Health Agency courtesy photo.

Understanding VA family and caregiver benefits can be confusing. But once you’ve determined if you meet the VA’s eligibility, there are plenty of extensive resources at your disposal.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is a powerful resource that extends beyond just our veterans and service members. As a matter of fact, if you have a family member in the military, you could be eligible for healthcare benefits through the VA. This means that as a service member’s spouse, dependent child or caregiver, you could receive coverage for your healthcare needs.

But how do you know if you qualify as a caregiver? The VA has strict eligibility criteria, but if you meet the requirements, you could receive the support you need. Your loved one must have sustained a serious injury. These include severe brain damage, mental disorders, or psychological trauma. The service member must be receiving VA health benefits. Additionally, the injury must have occurred on or after September 11, 2001, or before May 5, 1975. Conversely, the service member must have a disability that impairs at least 70% of their major life activity.

If you and your family meet these qualifications, it’s time to explore the many healthcare programs available through the VA. Take advantage of this opportunity to care for yourself and your loved ones. The VA is more than just a support system for veterans; it’s a lifeline for military families.


In addition to the healthcare benefits available through the VA, military families can also access healthcare through TRICARE. This medical program, provides various healthcare options, including medical plans, dental plans, and programs for individuals with special needs.

Here are some of the types of TRICARE plans you can have.

TRICARE coverage extends to spouses, ex-spouses, children, dependent parents, and some close surviving family members. This means that even if you’re not directly serving in the military, you may still be eligible for healthcare benefits.

With TRICARE, you’ll have access to various healthcare providers, including civilian doctors and hospitals. This can be especially helpful if you live far away from a military base or hospital. TRICARE also offers a variety of specialty programs, such as mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and maternity care.

So, if you’re a military family member looking for healthcare coverage, don’t forget about TRICARE. It’s a valuable resource that can provide you and your loved ones with the care you need.

tricare logo
(DoD courtesy graphic)


The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) provides crucial health coverage to survivors of service members lost during active duty. CHAMPVA also extends coverage to family members of veterans who were disabled due to service-related action or disabilities made worse by service-related action.

If you are a surviving dependent child, you may be eligible to receive coverage until the age of 18. You might be eligible until 23 if you can provide proof of enrollment in college. CHAMPVA offers a wide range of benefits, including coverage for preventative care, mental health services, prescription drugs, and more.

But CHAMPVA isn’t just for children of service members. Surviving spouses may also be eligible for coverage under certain circumstances. If you’re a surviving spouse and haven’t remarried, you may be eligible for coverage for the rest of your life.

It’s important to note that CHAMPVA isn’t the same as TRICARE, which provides healthcare coverage to active duty and retired military personnel and their families. However, if you’re a surviving family member, CHAMPVA can be an invaluable resource for accessing the healthcare you need.

Don’t miss out on the benefits available through CHAMPVA. If you’re a surviving family member or a service member, explore your healthcare coverage options.

Camp Lejeune Family Member Program

Some military families may be eligible for medical benefits under the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program. From 1953 to 1987, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune residents may have been exposed to contaminated water supplies.

If you or a loved one lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987, you might be eligible for medical benefits. The program covers including certain cancers, neurological conditions, and other illnesses linked to exposure to contaminated water.

You don’t have to have served to be eligible for benefits under this program. If you’re the spouse, child, or dependent parent of a service member during the affected time period, you may also be eligible for benefits.

If you think you or a loved one may have been affected by exposure to contaminated water, don’t hesitate to explore your options for medical benefits.

Related: Camp Lejeune Justice helps veterans and their families understand their rights related to toxic water contamination.

tricare caregiver benefits
(U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Children of Women Vietnam Veterans

The children of women who served in the Vietnam War and the Korean War may be eligible for special healthcare coverage. Women who served during those conflicts were often exposed to harmful chemicals that have had long-term effects on their health and the health of their children.

If you’re the biological child of a female Vietnam or Korean War veteran and have birth defects caused by your mother’s exposure to chemicals during active duty, you may be eligible for coverage under the Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV) program.

Some health conditions covered under the CWVV program include cleft lip and palate, neural tube defects, and other birth defects. To be eligible, you must be the biological child of a female veteran who served in the military during the Vietnam War or the Korean War exposed to certain chemicals during active duty.

Understanding Benefits

There are many healthcare benefits available to the families and caregivers of service members and veterans. From TRICARE to CHAMPVA, the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program, and the Children of Women Vietnam Veterans program, various options may provide coverage for the medical care and services you need. By taking advantage of these benefits, you can ensure that you and your loved ones have access to the healthcare services you need to stay healthy and well.