Veterans in Fremont and Chaffee Counties can take charge of many aspects of their care through the Veteran in Charge program.

“The Independence Center in Colorado Springs has partnered with the Veterans Administration since 2015 to offer this Veteran Directed Care program, funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Marsh Unruh, Veteran in Charge  program manager said. “The VIC program gives eligible veterans of all ages the opportunity to self-directing services, keeping veterans living as independently as possible in their home and community with appropriate services and supports.”

Through the program veterans can decide for themselves what services best meet their needs, hire their own personal care attendants (including family and friends) and set their wages, manage a flexible individual budget (determined by the VA) and purchase items or services needed to live independently.

Those needing hands-on assistance with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, mobility, etc. or who have a significant cognitive impairment may be found eligible.

VIC doesn’t’ replace VA benefits the veteran is already receiving except for home health and there is no income nor disability rating requirement for this program.

VIC basically means that veterans have more control over what services and support they need, who provides it, when and where and how much they pay for them according to a press release.

To be found eligible, the veteran must work with the VA Social Worker at his/her local VA clinic.

For more information, veterans can call Talonna Martinez, the VA Social Worker at the Pueblo Community Based Outpatient Clinic at 719-553-1000 or The Independence Center at 719-471-8181 ext. 178 or check the website at www.the-ic-org/vic.

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