The financial burden of family caregiving is significant and often crippling. Family caregivers report spending an average of $7,000 per year out-of-pocket on caregiving expenses. One in five family caregivers also reports feeling “high financial strain due to family caregiving” according to a study by AARP.
The financial strain of caregiving is usually a double-sided issue. It is a combination of the loss of income due to taking time off work to provide care with increased expenses (bills such as home maintenance, safety upgrades, medical supplies, transportation costs, etc.). The combination of reduced income and increased expenses can create a terrifying and lasting impact on the family. If this has been your experience as a family caregiver, you’re not alone. In this article, we hope to provide you with some resources – where and how to find financial support as a family caregiver.
Getting Paid to Give Care
In some situations, there are government or agency financial support options that may offer direct or indirect compensation for the family caregiving work you do.
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS).
IHSS is a Medi-Cal (California Medicaid) program that supports limited-income disabled, blind, or elderly people in an effort to maintain independence in their own homes. IHSS offers grants so they can hire in-home care and help to complete basic (non-skilled) tasks like household chores.
This program lets the care recipient be the boss. This means that they can “hire” you or another family member to manage their care in exchange for a grant. In California, spouses, siblings, niece/nephews, friends, and more may be eligible.
California Paid Family Leave Act (PFL).
California Paid Family Leave Act (PFL) is a program designed to help you receive partial reimbursement for missed salary from your job (instead of being directly paid to be a caregiver).
To qualify, you’ll need to have an existing job and pay into the California Disability Insurance. You can confirm your eligibility by looking at your paystub or discussing it with your company’s human resources department. You can apply for this subsidy on the EDD website.
Long Term Care Insurance.
If your loved one has long-term care insurance, they may be eligible to hire you as their help. This type of arrangement is often difficult to qualify for, but it’s worth contacting the insurance provider to find out what options you have.
Additional Options for Veterans.
If the loved one in need of care was a veteran, there are a few additional avenues for potential compensation that are worth considering. Examples include Veteran-Directed Care and the Aid and Attendance Benefit.
To find out more about these options visit http://www.caregiver.va.gov/ or call the VA Support line for Caregivers at 1-855-260-3274.
Finding Additional Assistance
Sometimes the financial burden of caregiving stems from more mundane maintenance/day-to-day tasks that cause you to take extra hours off of work. If that’s the case for you, there are non-profit churches and organizations (such as the Alzheimer’s Association, for example) that are there to offer assistance, respite care, volunteer services like meals or daycare, transport, etc.
To identify helpful additional resources near you, you can contact Information and Referrals (I&Rs) for assistance. California’s Caregiver Resource Centers (that’s us!), national Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), local senior centers, or community mental health programs are examples of I&Rs that can help to connect you with these services. Examples of services we can help you find include housing services, meal services, and adult daycare programs.
If you provide regular care to your loved one, we are here for you. As a caregiver, you’re faced with new challenges every day. The California Caregiver Resource Centers are a network of eleven independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations across California. They were created with you both in mind and at heart to be a free resource as you navigate the challenging role you’re in. We would love to connect you with your local Center, where they can talk more about local programs for caregivers, answer your questions, and explain how they can best support you.Share this post: