As the nation’s large population of Baby Boomers continue to age, the number of family members that are providing care for their aging parents or grandparents will increase. As this happens, concern for how to supplement lost income that comes as a result of caretaking will also increase substantially.
Caring for an elderly relative is demanding in the sense that it is both time consuming and requires a large amount of one’s energy and efforts. The federal government Administration on Aging saw a need for assistance to these citizens caring for aging relatives. Thus, they developed the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
The National Family Caregiver Support Program supplies grants to territories and states dependent on their share of senior citizens aged seventy (70) and over. These grants aid in funding a variety of supports aimed at providing informal caregivers and families the means to continue to care for their aging family members within their homes for as long as possible. Some of these supports include Medicaid Cash and Counseling benefit, federal income tax breaks, dependent tax exemptions, deductible medical expenses, home equity conversion mortgages (or reverse mortgages), health insurance benefits, health insurance counseling, long term care, and legal assistance.
Through the National Family Caregiver Support Program, many studies have been conducted in the arena of caregiving. These studies prove that caregiving takes a daunting financial, emotional, and physical toll on caregivers, be it a family caregiver or an outside party. These studies have found that over half of the caregivers in the United States are over the age of fifty (50), which as an older individual themselves, puts them at greater risk of experiencing decline in their own health. As a result, the NFCSP (National Family Caregiver Support Program) makes it mandatory that each state provide caregivers with the following five types of services:
- Supplemental income services, which are dispersed on a limited basis
- Caregiving training, access to caregiving support groups, as well as therapy
- Detailed information to all caregivers about available services
- Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to such available services
- Relief care
In order to be qualified as eligible to receive benefits through the National Family Caregiver Support Program, there are certain stipulations that the 2006 reauthorization of the Aging Americans Act outline, which identifies certain populations of family caregivers that are considered eligible to receive service benefits.
- Adult, meaning aged 18 and over, family caregiver or informal caregivers providing care to an individual (or individuals) with Alzheimer’s Disease or related disorders
- Adult, meaning aged 18 and over, family caregiver or informal caregivers providing care to an individual sixty (60) years of age and older
- Grandparent or other relative (excluding parents), of the age fifty five (55) and over, providing care to adult individuals aged 18-59 who suffer from a disability
- Grandparent or other relative (excluding parents), of the age fifty five (55) and over, providing care to individuals under the age of 18
In 2010, which was the most recent fiscal year of data regarding family caregiving that has been made available, reports showed that over 700,000 family caregivers received benefits through the National Family Caregiver Support Program. The support from the provided services offered through the National Family Caregiver Support Program delivered crucial assistance to family caregivers that allowed them to better care for their elderly, while assisting them in better management of their own responsibilities. These benefits provided essential services to family caregivers, and, as a result, allow such caregivers to continue to care for their elderly, thus ensuring that these elderly individuals are able to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of health and Human Services, National Family Caregiver Support Program
(OAA Title IIIE. Available online at http://www.aoa.acl.gov/AoA_Programs/HCLTC/Caregiver/National Care Planning Council. Can I Get paid to Care for a Senior Family member? Oct. 10, 2011. Available online at http://www.longtermcarelink.net/article-2011-10-10.htm.
National Care Planning Council. Can I Get Paid to Care for a Senior Family Member? October 10, 2011. Available online at http://www.longtermcarelink.net/article-2011-10-10.htm.
Ramnarace, Cynthia. Caregivers Can Get Paid: How to get financial help for taking care of Mom, Dad. AARP Bulletin, Updated December 15, 2011. Available online at http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-10-2010/lfm_get_paid_as_a_family_caregiver.html.
Sollitto, Marlo. How Can I Get Paid for Taking Care of My Elderly Parents? Available online at https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/how-to-get-paid-for-being-a-caregiver-135476.htm.