Caring for a family member, whether they’re a parent, grandparent, child, or spouse, along with the emotional challenges involved, can present financial challenges by keeping you from working full or even part-time.
If you are serving as a family caregiver for your spouse, there are certain government programs that may offer compensation for the services you provide.
Additionally, there are programs available from a variety of entities that may offer other assistance for family caregivers in the form of access to resources or care services.
There may also be alternative options to consider for receiving compensation for caring for your spouse. For instance, alternative forms of financial assistance could come from:
Below we have listed a number of programs that may provide compensation or other assistance to spousal caregivers who help their loved one perform certain activities of daily living.
Some of these programs are sponsored by federal or national organizations, while others are sponsored by state governments, a combined federal/state effort, or other organizations. These sources, if applicable, can be combined with any other sources of support to deliver directed care and build personal care programs.
When using these and other resources to build a program of comprehensive assistance for family caregivers, it should be noted that qualification criteria differ from program to program.
The Medicaid program, for example, is generally mean- or condition-based, while qualifying for Medicare is based on the care recipient’s age.
Programs that may offer compensation or other assistance to spousal caregivers based on the financial means or the medical condition of the person receiving care include:
Most states allow Medicaid recipients to hire a family member as a paid caregiver through a Medicaid waiver program: Medicaid waiver self-directed long-term services and supports (LTSS) programs.
States offer a variety of consumer-directed caregiving options, including self-directed personal assistant services, which enable participants to choose and pay their health services provider.
These Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) fall under the waiver program. To determine if a person qualifies for Medicaid, contact your state’s Medicaid office.
In some states, programs that pay family caregivers stipends to care for a loved one may be available for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid or when certain conditions are involved such as traumatic brain injury.
For instance, in California, in-home supportive services (IHSS), provide resources to help qualifying individuals receive care at home.
New York, Florida. New Jersey and Arizona have similar programs. To see if your state offers this type of program, you can contact your state’s department of social services or human services, or Medicaid office.
SHIP operates on a national basis to provide counseling, resources, and assistance accessible to adults on Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare supplemental insurance, also known as Medigap.
Programs that may offer assistance to caregivers based on the age of the individual receiving care include:
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
PACE is a program sponsored by Medicare that covers some of the medical and social service expenses paid by adults who need nursing home care level at home.
The program’s goal is to enable adults to live in their homes while receiving care rather than staying at a long-term care facility. This program is not available in every state.
Eligibility for PACE in the states where it is offered requires the following:
For Medicaid program participants, no monthly premium is charged for the long-term care aspect of PACE.
If a PACE participant has Medicare, there is a monthly premium for the long-term care benefit as well as a premium for Medicare Part D drugs. To learn more, visit Medicare’s PACE page.
Elder Affairs/Aging Department:
Each state has a department focused on helping seniors, offering a variety of services.
Other programs which may offer assistance including compensation to caregivers include:
A long-term care insurance policy could be another source of income for home health care services provided by a spouse caregiver.
Such policies typically cover expenses for care that are not covered by health insurance, care needed for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease, a disability inhibiting their ability to perform daily personal care, or a chronic medical condition.
If your spouse has a long-term care insurance policy, you can contact the insurance company that wrote the policy to see if they offer in-home care provider compensation.
In addition to government programs, long-term care insurance can be another option for receiving payment as a family caregiver. It typically covers expenses for care that is not covered by health insurance, cares needed for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease, a disability inhibiting their ability to perform daily personal care, or a chronic medical condition.
Caregiving for a spouse can be similar to working a full-time job.
As a result, if you are caring for a spouse, it can significantly cut into the time you have available to earn money through employment.
For this reason, it makes sense to look into the various programs offered by the government and other organizations that may provide caregivers with compensation or other resources. The programs listed above can provide just these types of resources for those who meet their eligibility requirements.
Try calling your local Administration on Aging (AOA) to learn what resources are available to you that might help reduce certain caregiving costs. You can also search Eldercare.gov to find resources in your area that provide information and assistance for older adults and caregivers.
Josh Iversen is a Registered Investment Advisor Representative and Senior Planning Specialist with 30+ years of experience. As President and Chief Investment Officer of Santa Ana-based Syzygy Financial LLC, he helps seniors deal with all financial and healthcare aspects of the senior experience, including Social Security claiming strategies, Medicare, Medigap, long-term care, and overall financial planning strategy.
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