Looking for financial help for caregivers of elderly parents is a question I get asked often. There is no cut and dry answer to this.
I will answer this the best that I can. Each state has different rules and regulations. Each senior citizens individual financial circumstances is also a factor.
There are ways that a family caregiver may qualify for getting paid to provide care for their family member. It is important to know that the family caregiver is the largest pillar of the long term care system. Family caregivers provide over $550 billion dollars worth of unpaid care each year.
The family caregiver, while providing care, is financial negatively impacted.
Here are some disturbing statistics:
Caregivers suffer loss of wages, health insurance and other job benefits, retirement saving or investing, and Social Security benefits– losses that hold serious consequences for the “career caregiver.” A reported 37% of caregivers quit their jobs or reduced their work hours to care for someone 50+ in 2007.
[AARP Public Policy Institute 2008: Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Family Caregiving] – Updated: November 2012
10 million caregivers over 50 who care for their parents lose an estimated $3 trillion in lost wages, pensions, retirement funds and benefits. The total costs are higher for women who lose an estimated $324,044 due to caregiving, compared to men at $283,716. Lost wages for women who leave the work force early because of caregiving responsibilities equals $142,693, and for lost Social Security benefits an estimated $131,351, and pensions an estimated $50,000.
[MetLife Mature Market Group. (June 2010) and National Alliance for Caregiving, Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Costs: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for their Parents] – Updated: November 2012
Predominately single women caring for their elderly parents are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty in old-age.
[Donato, Katherine and Wakabayashi, Chizuko: Women Caregivers are More Likely to Face Poverty, Sallyport, Magazine of Rice University. 61(3). Spring 2005, WISER 2012.] – Updated: November 2012
Medicaid Waiver Programs
This is a state run program that pays for in home care, in place of your family member being admitted to a nursing home. This is also known as Medicaid Cash and Counseling Program. It is not available in all states. Contact your local Medicaid office to see what is offered in your area.
VA Aid and Attendance Program
If you have a family member that was serving in the military during war time, then they may qualify for the Aid and Attendance Program. The money from this program will pay for care in the home,to the family caregiver or outside caregivers. Please check out the qualifications to see if your family member qualifies.
Consider a family caregiver contract. Creating a family caregiver contract can help an older elderly family member stay in their home, as well as safeguard the assets from nursing house prices. A family caregiver contract is part of a Medicaid asset protection program.
Having a formalized family caregiver contract in place can permit the aging senior to utilize their assets to stay at house, get high quality care and monetarily award the individual that is giving that care.