Respite is defined as a short period of rest or relief from something difficult. Caring for a loved one can be very difficult on a caregiver. Respite Care provides temporary relief to a primary caregiver from the continuous support and care of a loved one who has a disability or medical condition. Respite will be most helpful if you use it before you become exhausted, isolated, and overwhelmed by your responsibilities. Respite services can be beneficial, meaningful, and enjoyable to both the caregiver and the care recipient.
The Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program (VLRVP) provides reimbursement vouchers to Virginia caregivers for the cost of temporary, short-term respite care provided to individuals of any age, with a documented disability or medical condition.
The goal of this program is to increase access and reduce barriers to respite care, as well as enhance education and awareness about respite care. Respite funding is limited to $595.00 per family through June 30, 2026, or until funds are exhausted. This program prohibits the use of these funds for rent, cleaning, medical supplies, food, or other household expenditures. Due to its limited funding, not all eligible applicants will be approved.
An individual who provides care to someone who has a physical or mental health condition, or who is chronically ill or frail. Caregivers may be spouses, adult children, in-laws, parents, siblings, extended family members, friends, neighbors, or family of choice.
A person who receives care from an unpaid caregiver, paid care provider, or volunteer, either at home, in the community or in a facility.
A person who provides respite care and receives payment for it. Respite Providers can range from a personal care provider; a healthcare professional such as a nurse, occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist (PT), or other licensed clinical professional; homemakers; and companionship providers, to name a few. They may be employed, self-employed, or contracted to work in facilities or at the Care Recipient's home.
Types of Respite:
Formal, informal, in-home and out-of-home respite options may exist in your locality. Respite programs may utilize an available bed in a health care facility for families who require extended respite options and whose family member or friend requires skilled care; whereas, other respite programs may only offer time-limited (a few hours) services in the family's home. Respite services may be available to families through formal programs that hire and train their staff, or through informal networks (e.g., volunteer or faith-based initiatives, parent cooperatives, relatives and friends).
Respite services are usually offered on a sliding fee schedule, or there may be a combination of family fees, state, and federal funding, including Medicaid waivers, and/or private insurance. Providers may be paid or unpaid.
For more information on types of respite models please visit the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center ABCs of Respite: A Consumer Guide for Family Caregivers
In order to be eligible for this program you must live in the Commonwealth of Virginia, must be a primary caregiver of a loved one with a documented disability or medical condition, and you must reside at least part-time with your loved one. Voucher funding is limited to a total of $595 per household per year.
Any of the following items are valid verification of a disability or medical condition, as long as it is less than 2 years old:
By email to : firstname.lastname@example.org
By mail to:
Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program
Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
1610 Forest Avenue, Suite 100
Henrico, Virginia 23229
Or by FAX to: (804) 662-9354 or (804) 662-7035
Click here to download the Application, which can be completed and submitted using the blue buttons in the document. Please use Adobe Acrobat to open this PDF. In order for the document to function properly, you must download the program application to your computer and open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat. If you use another PDF reader, you will not be able to utilize some of the document's functions.
Click here to download the free Adobe Acrobat PDF reader.
You can also print this application if you would prefer to fill it out on paper and mail it back to DARS.
Once you have submitted a completed application with verification of disability or medical condition to DARS by one of the methods listed above, you will be notified of your approval within 30 days via mail or email.
Will DARS arrange the Respite Care? DARS does not provide or arrange for respite care. This DARS program is participant-directed. YOU are responsible for selecting, hiring, training, and paying a respite care provider of your choice, at a time that is convenient for you and your loved one. Respite and caregiver resources are available through the Virginia Family Caregiver Solutions center at https://vf.virginianavigator.org/ or via internet searches.
Can I hire a Respite Provider who lives in my home or is under age 18? If you choose to select a respite care provider yourself, the individual selected to provide the respite care MUST be at least 18 years old and cannot be someone who currently resides in your home. You are also responsible for negotiating the rate of pay with the respite care provider you select. The program allows for a maximum rate of $20.00 per hour for an individual and $30.00 per hour for an agency.
Can I use my current Respite Provider? Yes, you may, but program funds cannot be used to replace current funding for respite or to pay for respite just to allow the caregiver to work. Funding must be used to provide services that allow the caregiver to take a break from caregiving duties. It must go “above and beyond” what is currently being received.
For full FAQs click here.
The Lifespan Respite Voucher Program would not exist without the support of the VCC.
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To learn more about the Virginia Caregiver Coalition click here.
Virginia Navigator • Your Local AAA • Family Caregiver Solution Center
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center • VCC Caregiver Resource Guide
This project was supported by a grant, number 90LRLI0020-01-00, from the Administration on Aging, Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration on Aging Policy.