Family caregivers and family members play an important role in ensuring the well-being of older adults, 60 years of age or older, in the ever-changing world of elder care, adult day care, and overall home health care. They often provide personal care and support to their aging loved ones later in life. Thankfully, the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has developed the Caregiver Support Program.
This program is a valuable resource for family caregivers for caregiver education and training. The Caregiver Support Program empowers loved ones through education and training, lifting the financial burden of expenses and pocket expenses of care management for those aged 60 years or older. The program is based around the household income of the care recipient.
The AAA’s Caregiver Support Program assists caregivers with receiving in-person care management advice and ensures that daily living activities are met. Through respite care, financial assistance, and support for home modifications or assistive devices, this program empowers caregivers to provide their care recipients with the highest standard of personal care. This initiative makes a relieving difference in the lives of caregivers and care recipients.
Some solutions to personal care are designed to assist caregivers in tending to care recipients. This article is intended to illuminate the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program and how you can gain caregiver education and training.
Family caregivers are defined as individuals who, in this article, care for their aging family member or a dependent child. This can be a biological, legal family member, or someone legally dependent. Caregivers are responsible for attending to the basic needs of their care recipients and providing unique support and personal care. When caregiving, financial and educational needs can present significant challenges. Thankfully, there are solutions when you qualify for the Family Caregivers Act.
To determine your eligibility, both caregiver and receiver must reside in Pennsylvania, and the caregiver must meet one of the three eligibility criteria categories:
The caregiver must be 18 years of age. Additionally, the care receiver must be 60 years of age or older, or the receiver can be any age with Alzheimer’s or related dementia disorder. Note: caregiver and care receiver do not need to be related or cohabiting.
The caregiver, age 55 or older, may be related by blood, marriage, or adoption, have legal guardianship, or be raising the child informally. In this criteria, the care receiver would be a child or children under 18 years of age. Caregiver and receiver must live in the same residence.
The caregiver must be 55 or older, related by blood, marriage, or adoption. This can be the biological parent, for example. In this category, the care receiver must be an individual aged 18-59 with a disability. And in this case, again, the caregiver and receiver must be living in the same residence.
The Caregiver Support Program aims to assist caregivers based on individual needs. The program has no financial eligibility requirements. However, the reimbursement you receive depends on the total gross income and household size of the care recipient. The reimbursement percentage is calculated using a sliding scale based on the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines. It covers care receiver household income up to 380% of the FPL.
If the care receiver’s income is equal to or below 200% of the FPL, you will receive 100% reimbursement. If their income is slightly over 200% but less than 380% of the FPL, you will receive a percentage within that range. For instance, if their income is just under 380% of the FPL, you will receive 10% reimbursement. If their income is over 380% of the FPL, you will not receive any financial reimbursement. You can still benefit from non-reimbursable services such as Care Management, caregiver education, and training.
Home modifications benefit care recipients, especially older adults, for personal care needs. Consequently, home modifications are a significant reason caregivers need financial support. Activities of daily living can change drastically, and modifications can be an asset when caring for a care receiver. Reimbursements are available for home modifications. As of August 10, 2021, the maximum reimbursement amounts have increased. The maximum reimbursement amount for Home Modifications or Assistive Devices will increase to $5,000 based on the caregiver’s reimbursement percentage. The maximum reimbursement amount for Home Modifications or Assistive Devices will increase to $5,000 based on the caregiver’s reimbursement percentage.
Your local PA Area Agency on Aging AAA runs The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program. Each caregiver is assigned a care manager to assess their needs, provide support, and create a personalized care plan. Your local AAA is your community’s primary access point for aging services. It is staffed with professionals who can offer helpful information regarding services and lend a hand in obtaining access to those services. Pennsylvania has a total of 52 Area Agency on Aging AAA. Follow this link to find one near your county: https://www.aging.pa.gov/local-resources/Pages/AAA.aspx
The Caregiver Support Program provides various services for caregivers, including care management, benefits counseling, education, and training. Additionally, caregivers may receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to caregiving, such as respite care, consumable supplies, supportive services, supplemental services, home modifications, and assistive devices.
This program provides access to respite care, addresses the need for formal and informal support, and reimburses the caregivers for any expenses incurred while providing caregiving-related services and supplies. There are programs that the aging adult can attend, like adult day programs, and receive care management that can also be reimbursed. Overall, it aims to reduce caregiver stress by prioritizing their well-being.
The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program recognizes family caregiver and aims to alleviate their financial and educational challenges. This program offers many reimbursement options that are based on the individual’s needs. Make sure to check your local AAA for information on applying for this program and getting reimbursements.