Family caregiving can have a big impact on a family’s finances and on the family caregiver’s ability to work and retire. Although financial resources are sometimes limited, there are a variety of resources available to help caregivers in financial need. Please note that some of these resources are state specific.
Working & Caring
Employment Protections for Caregivers
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job protection for those caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. Read about how it works here. This law also provides for unpaid sick leave with job protection in workplaces that must follow the FMLA.
- Four states (California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.) offer paid family and medical leave. Learn more about the benefits here (and what’s available in other states).
- Five states (Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, D.C.) provide employment protection for family caregivers, although some cities may have ordinances that offer protection as well. Read about the existing benefits here.
- The Caregiver Experience: A Snapshot of the Caregiver’s Journey is a graphic depiction of a caregiver’s day. Use this tool to communicate with your employer or human resources team about your needs at work.
- Better Work, Better Care: How Employers Can Support Family Caregiving This webinar describes how to build caregiver-friendly workplace policies with insight from caregiving experts and employers.
- Juggling Work and Caregiving workbook, from AARP, provides practical resources and tips on planning for future needs or in the middle of a crisis.
- Benefits Checkup, a service provided by the National Council on Aging, helps you find programs that may help to pay for the costs of prescription drugs, health care, utilities, and other essential items or services.
- Low income individuals may qualified for support through the Medicaid Cash & Counseling Program. The program allows your loved one to pay you for the time you spend providing care.
- Caregivers of military Veterans from post-9/11 wars may qualify for the VA’s Caregiver Support program, which includes educational training on caregiving and a need-based stipend. Learn more here.
- Income tax benefits may be available to family caregivers in some circumstances. AARP has general guidance here and the IRS has advice for caregivers who are receiving support to care for a loved one here. Caregivers should check with their tax preparers to see if they may be able to take exemptions or deductions related to caregiving, such as deductions for paying for other’s medical expenses (including long-term care insurance) or the Dependent Care Credit. (For an overview of how this might work, read this article.)
Many caregivers may neglect planning for their own retirement as they care for an aging loved one or a spouse or child with disabilities. This can create further financial stress down the road, as the caregiver may later need their own care and support. To help caregivers plan, here are some resources on financial planning for caregivers.
- Financial Planning for Caregivers guidebook, from the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER). This guidebook provides worksheets and helpful resources to support caregivers in their planning.
- Webinar: Financial Planning for Caregivers, featuring Lara Hinz, M.S.W., Director of Programs at WISER, provides guidance on how to support family caregivers with financial planning. You can also download the Presentation Slides.
- For a perspective on the health costs that may impact saving and retirement, see the Cleveland Clinic’s advice on financial planning to help support a loved one with chronic health needs here.
The Social Security Administration offers two kinds of support to family caregivers. First, family caregivers may be eligible to act as a “Representative Payee” for the loved one they support. For example, if you loved one receives a disability benefit through SSA, you may be able to receive the funds on their behalf to help pay for their card. Second, SSA offers an online tool to help you check your future retirement benefit. The online mySSA program allows you to calculate your future benefits, including what would happen if you needed to reduce your work hours or retire early because of your caregiving responsibilities.
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