Get paid by government For Eldercare at Home

by : Thomas Day

Some 44.4 million adult caregivers -- or 21% of the population -- provide unpaid care to seniors or adults with disabilities,according to a 2004 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving in Bethesda,Md. On average, those caregivers provide 21 hours of care a week and theaverage length of time spent providing care is 4.3 years.

Over the years, the National Care Planning Council hasreceived many public requests. A number of these requests have been from familycaregivers who had to cut back on their employment or even quit their jobs inorder to take care of one or both of their parents. Invariably these caregiversassume there is a government program that will pay them to provide this care.Only recently have we become aware of some programs that will pay familymembers. These programs are not publicized and the public is largely unaware ofthem or how to receive them.

Money Follows the Person—MFP (Self-Direction in Care):?

In recent years, some state Medicaid programs have beenexperimenting with the idea of providing a budget to elderly Medicaidrecipients. This money can be used to hire family or friends to provide care athome. Most of these programs are very limited, and there are waiting lists forthem. Also, the amount of money available may not always be enough tocompensate a family member to provide full-time care in lieu of maintainingemployment.

The attitude of our government is quickly changing and thereis now a new initiative to provide income for family caregivers. The DeficitReduction Act of 2005 allocated $1.4 billion -- the largest demonstration grantin Medicaid history -- to a program called "Money Follows thePerson." This program is designed to transition individuals receivingMedicaid and who are living in institutions, back into the community. In 2007,31 states received their portion of the grant money pie to begin demonstrationprograms offering more choice in care besides an institution. Most of thesestate programs offer a concept called "self-direction" which allows abudget to be established by Medicaid for the care recipient. Self-directionallows the care recipient to spend this money hiring any caregiver of choiceand this typically includes friends and family.

Unfortunately, this is not a widespread benefit for elderlyMedicaid recipients and in addition only applies to bringing elderly people outof institutions and back into the community to receive care. Over the next fiveyears, only 34,395 elderly care recipients nationwide are expected to betransitioned to community-based care through this program. Even though thisrepresents a fraction of the elderly, who over the next five years are expectedto receive Medicaid services in institutions, there is still a possibility forthe family to apply for one of these programs and to have the government payfor their care services.

Using the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit:?

A totally overlooked source of money to pay family caregiversto provide care at home is the aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. This moneyis available to veterans who served during a period of war. Pension money isalso available to the widows of these veterans. This benefit, under the rightcircumstances, can provide up to $1,843 a month in additional income to payfamily members to provide care at home.

It also comes as a surprise to many people that about 33% ofall seniors could qualify for the aid and attendance benefit. That's how manyveterans or their surviving spouses there are in this country.

Getting the aid and attendance benefit to pay for familycaregivers is not an easy task. This is because there must be a caregivercontract in place and services for care must be initiated and thoroughlydocumented before application can be made. Getting these applications approvedrequires using a consultant who understands the documentation requirements.Very few people can do it on their own.

Using Medicaid Spend down to Pay Family Caregivers:

In order to qualify for Medicaid nursing care, a person mustspend his or her cash assets down to less than $2,000. Instead of giving thismoney to the nursing home and waiting for Medicaid to kick in, the potentialbeneficiary can instead transfer this money to a child in return for caregiverservices. This is not considered a gift and if done properly does not create apenalty for Medicaid eligibility. The strategy also allows Medicaid to takeover paying its portion of the nursing home costs much sooner.

As with the caregiver contracts for VA benefits, an expert inthis area of Medicaid benefits is required in order to do it right. In factComputer Technology Articles,the same type of caregiver agreements used for obtaining extra income under theveterans benefit can also be used for Medicaid. A consultant who is proficientin both the aid and attendance benefit and Medicaid personal caregiveragreements can be of great service to the community. This contracts’ consultantcan help relieve a great deal of caregiver stress by providing funds to help thatcaregiver cope with personal financial pressures.