Caregiving Issues and the Workplace (continued)
In some states, caregivers are offered at least some level of compensation for caring for a family member. These include:
Colorado – In rural areas, family members providing assistance to loved ones may be eligible to receive up to $400 per month as compensation to provide personal care services.
North Dakota – Pays up to $700 per month to spouses and other family members who care for Medicaid beneficiaries living in rural areas who would otherwise require admission to a nursing home.
Wisconsin – A family member may be eligible for compensation either for caregiving or, in some situations, for performing services normally provided by a social worker.
North Carolina - family caregivers supporting loved ones may be able to reduce out of pocket expenses through the use of state-funded vouchers that can be used to buy nutritional supplements, incontinence supplies, and personal emergency response systems, among other items. In some circumstances caregivers may be eligible for direct cash compensation. While in most cases compensation is provided to family members who are not immediate family, there are times when immediate family is eligible for pay, such as when they are caring for a loved one with dementia who lives in a rural area.
Massachusetts - Elders who meet Medicaid criteria and who qualify for nursing home care now have the option of receiving compensated home-based care from family members or friends. The Enhanced Adult Foster Program covers up to $18,000 annually for family members who provide 24-hour care in the home. These caregivers receive specialized training, support of both a registered nurse and a care manager, and help in locating respite services.
Talk to Your Employer About Dependent Care FSAs
Consider utilizing a Dependent Care FSA (Flexible Spending Accounts) to help pay for medical/elder care expenses. These plans allow employees to contribute a portion of salary, before taxes, to accounts designated for health care expenses, including premiums and child/elder care expenses. Then employees are reimbursed from their accounts with tax free dollars for unreimbursed medical expenses and child/elder care expenses. The funds must be used before the end of the plan year, or grace period, or else unused dollars are forfeited. If a caregiver has access to these plans, they should use them, but plan carefully so that contributions are not more than can be used in a year.
If an elderly parent lives with a participant and relies on that person for at least 50% of their support, the Dependent Care FSA may be used for day care expenses. However, the care must be necessary to allow the participant to work, and cannot be custodial nursing care. If the participant is married, the care must be necessary because the spouse also works, is looking for work or is a full-time student.
When an aging parent needs help at home, talk to your employer about the options available to you. Research local resources that may lessen the stress and complication for you as a caregiver. Education and information are the key to getting organized and minimizing stress. Surround yourself with people who can help. Assemble your team. That team includes your Human Resource representatives and coworkers. Sharing your situation may be more helpful than you realize.
Reprinted with permission from Agingcare.com. AgingCare.com is a website and online forum for people caring for their aging parents. Caregivers can communicate with each other, get answers from elder care experts and access news, information and products related to caregiving.
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