What kind of financial aid programs are available to full-time caregivers?

Robiny asked...

I have had to quit my job to care for my Grandmother and Mom (Alzheimer's). When I had to stop working my sister said that since I recevied my Grandmothers and moms social security that should make up for my lost income. Since that time my Grandmother has passes on and now there is only my mom's income. I cannot work outside the home however, my sister still does not think she shoud help financially. What do I do?

Expert Answer

You might be able to get some pay directly from the state, for taking care of your mother, if your mother has few assets other than her house, and she has little income. If so, she might get in-home care from Medicaid. But instead of getting that care from a Medicaid home care agency, it might be possible – depending on what state you live in -- to have the state pay your mother directly. She can then use the money to pay you for taking care of her. In some states, this kind of cash assistance is possible even your mother has slightly too much income or assets to qualify for Medicaid.

If your state has a program called Cash and Counseling, or a similar program, it directly pays your mother the same amount that Medicaid would pay an aide from a home care agency. Your mother can then pay you. The catch is that your mother has to have low enough income and assets to qualify for the program. To find out more about these cash assistance programs, go to the page on this site called How to Get Paid for Being Your Parent's Caregiver.

Your mother can apply for Medicaid and Cash and Counseling, or for a similar state cash assistance program, at your local Medicaid office. To find the local Medicaid office near you, contact the Eldercare Locator by phone toll-free at 800-677-1116, or in any online search engine you can type in the word Medicaid plus the name of your state.