How to Receive Government Money to Take Care of a Loved One

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Government programs that pay you for taking care of loved ones vary from state to state.
Government programs that pay you for taking care of loved ones vary from state to state. (Image: money image by cherie from Fotolia.com)

Taking care of a loved one who has been incapacitated by old age, disease, accidents, or war injuries can be stressful and expensive, especially when you have other bills or family to support. Fortunately, many states offer financial assistance to caregivers; each state's assistance program is slightly different. In the meantime, enroll your loved one for disability benefits from the government at Disability.gov--the waiting list is long.

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Enroll your elderly loved one in the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS), a program for those eligible for Medicaid. They may make direct payments to you, the caregiver, through their Cash & Counseling grant program. As of 2009, you can only access this program in the states of Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

Contact Medicaid in your state to see if your elderly loved one can be covered under Medicaid. Generally, people who earn too much or who have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid must use up their own money in order to become eligible (also known as "spending down").

Each state has its own eligibility requirements, and the limit of assets for eligibility can be as low as $2,000. This means a person must have very few liquid assets--$2,000 cash total--to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Your loved one can keep her home, car, life insurance worth $1,500 face value, personal belongings, furniture and pre-paid burial assets. If she qualifies, Medicaid may help pay you for your caregiving.

Speak to a representative of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI pays benefits to certain family members, to those age 65 and older without disabilities and to disabled adults. SSI differs from Social Security in that they do not consider previous work history in order pay benefits. Call SSI at 800-772-1213.

Contact the VA Improved Pension if your loved one served at least 90 days of active duty with one day during wartime and received an honorable discharge. Ask about the Improved Pension for Aid and Attendance for benefits, which may pay you for caregiving. Visit Vet Assist at VetAssist.org.

Claim your loved one on your taxes as a dependent. Your medical expenses may also be deductible. For eligibility, you must financially support over half of your loved one's housing, medical bills, food and transportation. You can also deduct a percentage of your utilities, household costs and mortgage if your loved one lives with you.

Tips & Warnings

  • When caring for an elderly loved one, be on the alert for elderly scams. Warn your loved one against giving out credit card numbers, bank information or Social Security Numbers to anyone calling on the telephone. Be involved in your loved one's financial decisions as much as you can to help prevent this type of fraud.

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