Financial aid for caregivers

by User Not Found | May 31, 2011

Financial aid for caregivers is, unfortunately, not only difficult to find, but generally difficult to get. There are, however, a few programs which offer financial aid for caregivers, as well as other forms of care for the elderly. The truth is that caregiving is a duty many of us will eventually assume as we take over the responsibility for caring for aging parents or other elderly or infirm friends or relatives. Millions of Americans currently care for their elderly parents with no compensation whatsoever, however, they may be able to find financial relief from a few relatively unlikely places.

Financial Aid for Caregivers from the IRS

Financial aid for caregivers could surprisingly come from the IRS. Both the individuals themselves and the people who care for their qualifying relatives are able to claim tax deductions and certain credits for out-of-pocket medical expenses, including long-term care services. In order to qualify for caregiver tax deductions or credits, the person you are currently caring for will need to be your spouse, your dependent, or a qualifying relative as well as a United States citizen.

A qualifying relative, according to IRS rules, includes your parent, stepparent, father or mother-in-law, or essentially any other person who lived with you throughout the year as a member of your household. In order to fully qualify for the dependent deduction, you must have paid more than half of the qualifying relatives cost of support. If the person has a gross income which is more than $3,400, then you will only be able to take the medical expense deductions. Home care is a deductible medical expense, as is long-term care insurance. Many state governments offer caregiver tax credits and deductions in addition to federal incentives, so it definitely pays to know your state’s specific rules.

Financial Aid for Caregivers from the VA

You may qualify for financial aid for caregivers through the Veteran’s Administration. A special pension benefit will pay for a private caregiver to assist the veteran in the daily activities of living, which include eating, bathing and dressing in their home as well as in an assisted living community. There are also circumstances under which the VA will pay for care in a nursing home provided the patient is blind or suffers from a mental or physical incapacity.

The stipulations surrounding this particular financial aid for caregivers states that the veteran must have served for at least 90 consecutive days in a qualifying war and must have less than $80,000 in assets, excluding home and vehicles. The VA will pay as much as $1,519 per month for home caregiving services in the home for the qualifying veteran, up to $976 for the spouse of a veteran, or as much as $1801 for a couple. You and your doctor will need to fill out the appropriate forms in order to qualify for this particular financial aid for caregivers.

Financial Aid for Caregivers from Medicaid

Many family caregivers give up their paying job, as well as their time and energy to provide unpaid caregiving for a family member. It may be possible to get a regular paycheck—albeit not a large one—through Medicaid for your caregiving tasks. If your parent, spouse or any other person you are currently providing caretaking for is Medicaid eligible, a program known as Cash and Counseling, available in many states, can provide payments to you through the person you care for. Some states have comparable programs for seniors on the low end of the income scale even if your loved one cannot qualify for Medicaid.

If your loved one is found to be eligible financially, the program will come to the home of the senior and assess their specific care needs, and will likely speak to your loved one’s doctor as well as to the current caregiver. Based on this assessment, the Cash and Counseling program will determine the number of appropriate monthly hours of needed assistance and pay this amount to the senior who can in turn pay it to you.

Financial Aid for Caregivers Through Long-Term Care Insurance

Although few older adults actually carry insurance which provides long-term care, if the senior you are caring for does have this type of policy, it may well cover in-home care, allowing you as the caregiver to be paid from the benefits. If the senior qualifies for the benefits, the policy will probably pay them directly, just like Medicaid, and they can, in turn, pay you. If you are being paid through any source, including independent funds, for caregiving services, it is always a good idea to draw up a simple contract setting out the terms of care and amount of payment. Such a simple agreement goes a long way toward avoiding uncertainty or disagreements about what you as the caretaker are supposed to be doing, when you are to do it, and how you will be compensated.



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