Finances & Work

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.

Caregiver Tools 

Financial Support

  • 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.)

Retirement Planning

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.
 

Social Security

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.
 
Representative Payees
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/payee/

my Social Security
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/

Social Security Field Office Service Changes
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/thirdparty/whatsnew.html

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/ssi.htm

Information for Kids and Families
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/kids/index.htm?tabNum=2

Expedited Disability Application Process for Veterans
http://www.ssa.gov/veterans/#ht=1

Informational Social Security Webinars
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/webinars/