smart spending

5 ways to find cash for caregivers

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Where should you start?

Consider this typical situation: An adult daughter attends to her mother about three hours per day, helping her dress, cook and eat, while monitoring her medications. "Other siblings may not live nearby and they may think they are helping by just calling their mom, without any real idea of what their sister is doing," says Richard Kaplan, a University of Illinois law professor who specializes in elder issues.

If donating her time is a hardship -- perhaps because she's cut back on her salaried job -- the first step toward getting compensated is to let other family members know exactly what services are being performed, Kaplan says. A parent may qualify for government assistance to pay for care. To be sure, the caregiver must outline what services are rendered to prove the assistance qualifies for payment.

If a parent qualifies for Medicaid, he or she may be able to qualify for a growing number of programs, says Kevin Mahoney, director of the Center for the Study of Home and Community Life at Boston College. State rules differ, but you must be low-income and have assets outside of a home worth only about $2,000.

Also, veterans or their surviving spouses may qualify for similar assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs.




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