Can my husband and I be reappointed as caregivers?

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 18, 2010
Darcy asked...

My husband and I were appointed caregivers for his brother, who is a quadraplegic, and we were paid through the COPES program. When his brother was in the hospital, his case manager fired us as caregivers and refused to rehire us. The brother is back home, with no paid caregivers. Is this legal, and can you find us some legal help? We have little or no money.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

In most areas, the resource you mentioned -- Community Options Program Entry System, or COPES, is the single best source of help and information for people with disabilities and their caregivers.

Since you have already been part of that program and functioned well within it for a time, it may be worth going over the former case manager's head and directly contacting the COPES regional administrator for help in resolving the current problem. If the case manager had pointed up particular sticking points when refusing to rehire you, come to the conversation equipped with information about how past problems could be handled in the future.

If you don't get the help you need from COPES, try contacting the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) operating in most states that are funded through grants. Even if your state is among the handful that don't have such a center, you should be able to find helpful local resources on the ADRC Technical Assistance website.