Financial help when a parent leaves a nursing home to live with family?

5 answers | Last updated: Aug 05, 2014
Misty romanyk asked...

My mother-in-law moved in with us a few weeks ago. She was in a nursing home but it wasn't doing her any good since she is deaf. I cannot go back to work because I have to take care of her while my husband works. We have five children and my question is, is there any financial assistance out there for us?

Expert Answers

Your mother-in-law may be entitled to assistance from several different government benefit programs, each of which could ease your financial and personal burden. If your mother-in-law is entitled to Social Security retirement, disability, or survivors benefits, that money was probably going directly to the nursing home she was in. It should now be redirected into your mother-in-law's own bank account. The Social Security Administration can set up a direct deposit into her account. Your mother-in-law can then use that money for her living expenses at your house.

If your mother-in-law has no income other than her Social Security benefits, and has little or no savings or other assets, she might also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a program for low-income people, including elders, run jointly by the federal government and the states. Contact your local county social services office to find out about eligibility and applying.

Your mother-in-law might also be eligible for Medicaid coverage of medical expenses not paid for by Medicare. This reduces the amount of money she'll have to spend on medical care, leaving it available for other living expenses. Also, through Medicaid she might be eligible for adult day care services. Adult day care provides a safe, structured environment with activities for people who would otherwise be housebound or would need to live in a nursing facility. Your mother-in-law could regularly spend time there, giving you much-needed relief from your caregiving duties. Like SSI, Medicaid is a joint federal-state program. Contact your local county social services office for information about eligibility and applying.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Good answer on the part of the mother-in-law...but no answer for any financial assistance resources for the daughter-in-law, who needs money!  It would be helpful to address this part as well.

Lindasd answered...

Most communities have a Senior Services Agency or Agency on Aging that you can call and get help. There are several articles on this site that speak to getting financial assistance if you are a caregiver taking care of someone in your home. In most states the person you are careging for has to qualify for Medicaid (welfare) prior to qualifying for any other financial assistance to the caregiver.

I take care of my mother at home and have had to quit work. She does not qualify financially for any assistance. Therefore I cannot get any state funds to help me until she is completely broke and I mean dirt poor, nothing to her name. By then we won't be able to stay in the house unless I have enough money to continue to pay for the house. If that happens, she will have to go into a nursing home any way. It is a difficult and stressful issue. We all do the best we can.

Billf answered...

Good Question Misty,

I don't know of any government programs that directly pay family caregivers for caring for an aging loved one. But I definitely know that it can be a huge cost. I work on an eldercare blog for a nationwide network of caregivers called Right at Home. We get asked questions on paying for eldercare all the time. So we started writing a series of popular blog posts on ways to pay for eldercare. If you are interested, check out the posts at

Best of Luck with your mother-in-law, Bill

Lindasd answered...

I would disagree with the post that no state pays for family member care.

Go to and see if your state participates in this program.

I'm in Florida which does. The person you are caring for has to be Medicaid qualified. Once that happens and a waiver is completed, this program will help that elderly person stay in their home while hiring their own help rather than having Medicaid send agency appointed help to the house. And an untrained family member would be allowed to be hired. I have called the Cash and Counseling office for information and they are very helpful (toll free number on the website). Also on the website has a listing of participating states.