By Debbie Ludington
Are you caring for someone in your home with a disability? If so, you may qualify for the Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program. This program was created to provide reimbursement vouchers to home-based family caregivers for the cost of temporary, short-term respite care provided to family members with disabilities, including children, adults and older adults. If you qualify, you may be able to receive up to $400 in vouchers to reimburse you for respite care.
Respite care is defined as planned or emergency care provided to a child or adult with a special need in order to provide temporary relief to the family caregiver of that child or adult. Respite services may be provided in a variety of settings on a temporary basis, including the home, adult day centers, respite centers or residential care facilities.
Respite is a key component of family support and home and community based long-term services and supports. Respite services strengthen family systems while protecting the health and wellbeing of both caregivers and care recipients. Funds from the program may not be used to pay for household expenses or daycare so that the caregiver can go to work.
Primary family caregivers must apply to the program first before requesting reimbursement under this program. The overview and application form highlight how to apply. This program is designed to reimburse respite services rendered from the date your application is approved through July 31, 2016. This program cannot reimburse you for respite services you may have already used. This program takes four weeks to review your application. Funds are limited and not everyone who applies will be approved, so apply now.
Applications and more information can be obtained online at www.vda.virginia.gov/respiteservices.asp. To request forms be mailed to you or for information regarding the application or reimbursement process, please contact Mary Strawderman by phone toll free at 800-552-5019 or by email at mary.strawderman@ dars.virginia.gov.
For information on programs and services for older adults and their families and adults with disabilities, call the city division of aging and adult services at 703-746-5999 or look for information online at www.alexandriava.gov/aging.
The writer is the long term care coordinator at the city division of aging and adult services.