Million of Americans across the United States provide full time care to a loved one with an illness or disability. The role of a caregiver is often seen as a selfless act of love and care. It is a demanding role that can put a toll on one’s physical and mental health and well-being.
Being a full time caregiver, you may experience financial difficulties. Being unable to work and instead, dedicating your time and effort to care for a loved one can mean that there is a huge financial burden on your shoulders.
As a result, there are ways to get financial help for caregivers. To help you get started, we’ve listed the top 5 most common questions asked by caregivers to give you a general guide when seeking financial help.
5 Most Common Questions Asked When Seeking Financial Help For Caregivers
1. What Financial Help For Caregivers Is Available?
Caregivers are able to receive a range of financial help from organizations and the government.
1. Federal cash benefits
National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) in 2000 to help caregivers with financial support. Through this program you can receive grants and receive information about your options.
You may be entitled to federal cash benefits which will allow you to receive federal payments as a family caregiver. The payments can then be used as a form of financial help to cover the cost of medical expenses related to the care of your loved one.
Individuals must prove that they are low income earners in order to qualify for such programs. You are also required to give a detailed outline of your hours of care, and are required to meet with a caseworker to determine your eligibility. Requirements may vary also between states.
Another program called Medicare Savings Programs is also available in all states across the United States. This program helps caregivers with receiving benefits such as deductibles and coinsurance.
2. Charity Programs For Financial Help
There are also a number of non-profit organizations they are targeted to helping caregivers cover the cost of their medical expenses associated with caring for a loved one.
Local programs can also offer further counseling to help caregivers overcome any emotional, mental and physical stress experienced. You can also access free support groups to help you cope on your day to day challenges.
Besides these programs, as a caregiver you can also receive training and respite care. These services can assist in giving you a break when needed to recharge and have a fresh start.
3. Financial Help For Caregivers For Prescription Drugs
Caregivers can also offset high medical expenses such as prescription drug costs. Social security departments through Medicare prescription drug coverage programs can help caregivers pay for medication and treatment that your loved one may need.
In addition, there are also pharmaceutical assistance programs targeted to help caregivers to pay for medication for their loved one. You will receive a co-payment plan, discounts, reimbursements and other benefits using these pharmaceutical assistance programs.
2. Can I Get Paid As A Caregiver?
Another common question that caregivers can often ask is whether you are entitled to payments as a caregiver. Many people believe that being a full-time caregiver should be looked as a full time job.
It is becoming more popular and common for caregivers to arrange payments directly from their loved ones. This works well if the person you are caring for is an adult.
Before attempting this option, be sure to take the necessary steps to make this process as easy and simple as possible. Caregivers should openly have a discussion with their loved one beforehand. This will allow you to assess whether this option is available and whether your loved one would be open to this suggestion.
Secondly, caregivers should establish a contract that is written and signed. A written contract will help both parities be clear on the agreements made and to ensure that both parities are well protected in case any problems arise in the future. It needs to be made clear that you are providing a service and receiving money for the service, rather than a monetary gift.
Caregivers will also need to consider the tax implications on their agreement. Being paid for a service means you will be required to pay tax on any income you earn. You also may not be able to receive any other forms of benefits from non-profit organizations and the government programs made available to you.
Agreements should also be checked with the current long term care insurance policy to ensure that the agreement made does not affect the benefits received on the insurance policy. It may also be suitable to seek legal aid to draw up the contract and run through any concerns or issues with these arrangements.
3. How will caregiving affect my physical and mental health? Are their support groups or resources I can reach out to?
Caregiving can have a huge impact on one’s physical and mental health. Taking care of someone full time means less time to care for yourself in the process. As a result, many caregivers can feel a sense of burn out, exhaustion, frustration, stress, anger, resentment and depression.
It is important therefore to take the necessary steps to ensure your own health and well-being and to be prepared in order to prevent these issues from arising.
Besides financial help, caregivers can also receive a tremendous amount of support for their own health and well-being. Understanding the physical, emotional and mental strain being a full time caregiver can be, these programs and services are available to help relieve caregivers on any negative affects that can occur with their role.
Caregivers can access counseling services free of charge. This can help caregivers vent out and release tension that may be bottled up. You can also find free support groups that are confidential. Here caregivers are able to connect with other caregivers in their area and find mutual support in their care giving experience.
Caregivers are also advised to take time off to collect their thoughts and to place a sense of importance on their own health and well-being. By relaxing and taking time to care for yourself, you can remove many of the common issues faced by caregivers from exhaustion and burn out.
4. What Steps Should Be Taken To Best Prepare For The Costs Associated With Caregiving
Step 1. Review Your Financial Situation
Caregivers should firstly assess the current financial situation. This may include speaking directly to the beneficiary (if they are an adult), assessing your household income, current savings and all your expenses. Your expenses should outline general living costs, treatment costs, medical expenses and any other costs involved with providing home care for a loved one.
Step 2. Create A Budget And Follow It
The step should be followed by setting a budget in place to ensure that all needs are met with the funds currently available. Making cuts to unnecessary items or cutbacks can help. Ensure that you also follow the budget by reviewing your expenses weekly.
Caregivers can also find it helpful to create an excel spreadsheet to continuously manage their expenses and ensure that all medical bills and medical expenses are paid for on time.
Step 3. Ensure You Have Power Of Attorney Rights
Caregivers should then ensure that they are legally able to make decisions if the beneficiary is not able to do so. This is through getting Power of Attorney. These are important steps to take to ensure that you will be able to care for your loved one. Accessing of retirement funds for example may be available upon receiving full responsibility and rights.
Step 4. Contact Your Medical Provider For Financial Help
Speaking to your medical provider can also help. As a caregiver, you may be eligible for discounts or co-pay financial assistance programs. Asking your doctor can be the first step to accessing these options.
You can also take the time with your medical provider to setup a payment plan. Payment plans are useful for caregivers who cannot pay their medical expenses in bulk or upfront and instead would like pay their medical bills more spread apart.
Step 5. Find Programs For Financial Help
Caregivers can also seek help from government programs and benefits that can help cover the cost. Many programs offer payments for caregivers. There are also a number of non-profit organizations that provide support to caregivers in particular. You can also reach out to organizations that deal with your loved one’s specific illness or disability for further assistance.
Step 6. Check Your Insurance Policy
Review insurance policies that may be able to help you claim costs and receive reimbursements. If you do not have health insurance, look into long term care insurance plans to see if they may be beneficial for your circumstances.
Step 7. Use Alternative Methods For Financial Support
If you are still struggling with medical expenses in order to care for a loved one, you can also try using a free online fundraising website such as PeoplePledge to raise funds to cover the cost of care. Many families and caregivers have opted for this option as friends and family are always willing to give support the best way they can. Establishing an online fundraiser can help you easily raise funds from your own networks without having to go through paperwork and long processes found in other financial help options.
5. How Can I Fundraise To Get Financial Help Caring For A Loved One?
Carers who require financial help can use fundraising as a tool to cover the associated costs with caring for a loved one when they are ill.
As a caregiver, you can create a fundraiser on behalf of the beneficiary. You will require consent and be able to show proof of your loved one’s condition and care. The funds must be used to help cover costs related to their medical care and treatment. This can include living and household expenses, treatment, medication, home modifications and hiring professional care.
Caregivers can fundraise online for free using PeoplePledge, which offers individuals the ability to run a fundraiser completely for free. All you need to do is create a fundraiser, launch the fundraising page and start sharing the page with your friends and family. PeoplePledge facilitates the payment via PayPal to make sure payments are processed safely and quickly. Caregivers can start receiving donations of support in a matter of minutes after launching their fundraising page.
2) Can Full-Time Family Caregivers Get Paid?: http://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2012/11/20/can-full-time-family-caregivers-get-paid/
3) National Family Caregiver Support Program (OAA Title IIIE): http://www.aoa.gov/AoA_programs/HCLTC/Caregiver/index.aspx
4) Tips and Resources for caregivers: http://www.medicare.gov/files/ask-medicare-financial-support.pdf
5) The Financial Implications of Being a Caregiver: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/09/18/financial-implications-being-caregiver/
More Caregivers Financial Help Resources
- How to use online fundraising to get financial assistance for caregivers? If are thinking of reducing the financial burden of a loved one who is facing a medical problem, this article will be of help to you learn more about online fundraising and how it can benefit your situation financially. What Is Online Fundraising? Online fundraising represents a quick and an easy way to raise funds for medical ... Read more