Special Compensation for Caregiver Support


Caregivers have given up part, and sometimes all, of a salary or wage to care for their loved one. Therefore, the Department of Defense (DoD) is providing all eligible catastrophically wounded, ill or injured Service members with line-of-duty injury or illness with a special compensation to assist in the economic burden borne by their caregivers who provide nonmedical care, support and assistance for the member.

DoD is committed to ensuring that Service members do not suffer financial hardship when caregivers forego outside employment to take responsibility for the care of catastrophically wounded, ill or injured Service members at home in lieu of the government providing residential institutional care.

The military services are notifying eligible Service members of this voluntary compensation. If the eligible Service member wishes to apply, the military services will coordinate with the appropriate offices to ensure the member receives this stipend.

Catastrophically wounded, ill and injured Service members and their caregivers should reach out to their primary care managers or care coordinators to discuss eligibility for this special compensation, called Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living, or SCAADL.


An eligible Service member:

  • Has a catastrophic injury or illness incurred in the line of duty;
  • Has been certified by a licensed physician to be in need of assistance from another person to perform the personal functions of everyday living; or
  • Would, in the absence of this provision, require some form of residential institutional care.


Military medical authorities, the federal recovery care coordinator, treating physicians and medical and nonmedical case managers worked together to identify Service members who may be qualified for DoD caregiver compensation.

Service members designated by a licensed physician as having a catastrophic condition—along with the members’ guardians or designated representatives and families—are thoroughly counseled and advised on DoD caregiver compensation. If the member chooses to receive the compensation, the effective date of entitlement will be the date a licensed physician certifies the member meets the eligibility criteria.


The Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Defense Department to match the amount paid to caregivers in the Department of Veterans Affairs Caregivers and Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. The monthly amount is based on what a commercial home health care provider would pay for equivalent personal care services in the Service member’s geographical area of residence and the time and complexity of care the caregiver provides. To access an online SCAADL calulator, visit http://militarypay.defense.gov/Tools/scaadlintro.html. DoD caregiver compensation is intended to assist Service members and their caregivers before they transition out of the services, and for 90 days after their discharge date.

Service members who have a discharge date may be eligible to apply for the Veterans Affairs Department’s family caregiver program, which provides a caregiver stipend and other assistance to eligible veterans and caregivers. Transitioning Service members who believe they are eligible, such as those in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, for the VA Family Caregiver Program should apply as soon possible at www.caregiver.va.gov.

Source Documents

Department of Defense Instruction 1341.l2
DoD Directive 5124.02 (Reference (a))
Section 439 of title 37, United States Code (U.S.C.) (Reference (b))

Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL) Process


Talk to your primary care managers or care coordinators about eligibility for caregiver compensation.

U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command

Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment

Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

Navy Safe Harbor

VA Family Caregiver Program

Military OneSource