Can my brother get paid for being a full time caregiver for our mom?
My brother is a veteran and is a 24 hr a day caregiver for our 82 yr old mom who has dementia. The only income for the two is mom's social security of $693 a month which just increased to $734 as of 1/1/09 and the balance of their needs, such as food, medicine, medical care, clothing is being paid by family members. It is draining us to the max. My brother actually has no income. Can we get financial help for either my brother or mom to lessen the burden for everyone?
Since your mother's total income is so low, she probably qualifies for her state's Medicaid program (assuming she doesn't have much in savings or other assets other than her home). If so, that means she might also qualify for a state-run program -- if her state has one -- that can provide some payment directly to your mother for care at home. Your mother -- or whoever legally makes decisions about her finances -- can then use this money to pay your brother for caring for her. The payments aren't a lot, but they can help.
This payment for home care would come from a program usually run through the state's Medicaid program. In some states it's called Cash and Counseling, though there are different names in different states. If your mother qualifies for home care under Medicaid, Medicaid would normally provide that care through a certified home care agency. But this special program would instead pay your mother directly the same amount Medicaid would pay an aide from a home care agency. If your mother qualifies, the money can then go to your brother. Your mother may also use some of the money to make home improvements for her safety or comfort, or to buy personal care items for her.
To learn more about these programs -- not all states have them -- go to the page on this site called How to Get Paid for Being Your Parent's Caregiver. You or other family members can help your mother apply for Cash and Counseling or similar state cash assistance program, if your state has one, at a local Social Service or Medicaid office. For contact information for the local Social Services or Medicaid office near your mother's home, phone the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116. Or, online you can go to any search engine and type in "Medicaid" and the name of your mother's state; that takes you to the state's main Medicaid Web site, which can provide the contact information for the office nearest your mother.
If your father was a veteran also, they may qualify for the veterans benefit called "aid and assistance" you must go to your vet admin office and go through the application process.
Best of luck!
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