Help for Family Caregivers

Long-term care (LTC) is seriously under-financed by our government. Medicaid is viewed as the major source of help, but it is focused mainly on nursing home care. For our veteran aging loved ones, our government also offers a largely unknown wartime veteran benefit that helps pay for LTC, but in relatively low amounts. Assisted Living care is not covered by Medicaid at all, leaving only the veteran benefit as a governmental payment source for that type of LTC need.

While long-term care insurance (LTCi) helps, fewer than 10% of those receiving LTC are covered. LTCi is expensive, does not accumulate value for the policyholder, and accordingly remains unpopular. Carriers have not found it to be profitable, yet.

This LTC financing gap is addressed by families in a wide variety of scattered approaches. This is a major societal problem, and the repercussions are falling squarely on individual families, often with devastating results. In addition to the out-of-pocket cash demands, there is the actual time, energy, and sheer caregiving responsibility load that is borne by family members. Mostly, unpaid family caregivers.

We want to help family caregivers consider some sources for getting paid. Our roster of sources below does not exhaust every possibility, but it does indicate just how varied these solutions may be.

Accessing extra funds and supports:

1. Some income tax deductions may be possible. Any and all non-cash receipts by the family can reduce the cash needed.

2. Income tax credits up to 30% of expenditures may be available under the IRS's Credit for Caring Act.

3. Local property tax credits may apply.

4. The elderly loved one may own assets that can be converted to cash by a family member with a power of attorney.

5. The aging parent may be able to secure a Home Equity Line of Credit loan that, in effect, puts a first or second mortgage on the residence and opens a credit line that counts as neither income nor asset under any eligibility requirements.

6. A credit sale of a residence or other property at Fair Market Price can produce a qualifying income stream against which care costs can be assessed. If done correctly, this allows great flexibility in achieving Medicaid eligibility.

7. Local nonprofit or community agencies may help with food, transportation, monitoring, and other support services.

8. Religious organizations may have local programs that can help with in-kind contributions.

Getting paid for your Caregiving Role:

9. Some Medicaid-funded programs may be available that can be used to pay family caregivers.

10. Long Term Care insurance policies may allow, under certain conditions, payments to family caregivers.

11. Most LTCi policies will permit the family member who has earned certain credentials to be paid at market rates.

12. The VA has its so-called pension benefit for wartime veterans under which family caregivers can be paid.

13. The VA's Housebound Pension Benefit can pay any family caregiver except the spouse. This is a cash benefit.

Accessing Additional Funds via Veteran’s Benefits:

14. The VA also has a special Post-9/11 program offering its qualified applicants a variety of financial help.

15. Other veteran benefits may also apply under a variety of mental health conditions and respite care, specifically designed to help family caregivers.

16. In the case of a veteran homeowner, sometimes a mere refinance of the home mortgage can produce needed cash.

17. The Veteran Directed Care program, not available in all states, gives the successful applicant a flexible monthly budget for paying for care.

18. The VA's Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, or more informally, the Family Caregiver Program, addresses the caregiving needs of veterans critically injured in the line of duty later than September 11, 2001. It pays cash and other non-monetary benefits. This program will naturally be expanding as potential recipients age.

Accessing Additional Funds via Medicaid:

19. Every state offers some kind of "consumer directed" care assistance through Medicaid, so this is well worth exploring.

20. Medicaid "waivers" are available in some states that can pay directly or provide services of several kinds.

21. Medicaid in some states provides another option, known variously as adult foster care, or family care, usually for dementia.

22. While not direct cash payment, many states through Medicaid, allow the aging parent's residence to be transferred to an "adult caregiving child."

Elder Care Solutions focuses on helping caregivers face the financial challenges associated with LTC costs. Through our Care Cost Analysis, we perform a deep dive into your specific LTC situation and deliver a personal analysis of all your viable options for addressing and paying for LTC needs. Along with our consultation, you receive our support when you decide to mobilize any of your viable options. Our aim is to give you peace of mind, a sense of control, and help you gain back valuable time.

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