Over 50 million people are working as unpaid caregivers in America today. Caregiving is a role that many of us take on without expecting remuneration or recognition; however, state and federal assistance programs are in place that can offer some relief. At Aidaly, we understand that unpaid family care work can have a substantial financial and emotional impact on people's lives, and we are passionate about ensuring caregivers receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
In general, caregivers spend 26% of their own income on providing care despite a number of programs being available to assist with these costs. Aidaly is dedicated to helping caregivers access the compensation and recognition they deserve. So read on to learn about the benefits and programs you may qualify for in Alabama.
Most people are taxpayers, so the government often gives financial assistance by helping out with taxes. Unless you know what you're entitled to or work with someone who does, you may miss out.
Alabama caregivers may be eligible for tax benefits that can save you money. Find out more about each one below.
The Child Tax Credit and the Tax Credit for Other Dependents
People who claim their children or other dependents on their federal tax return can receive up to $2,000 for each qualified dependent. These credits are fully refundable, which means you can get the money even if you owe no taxes. To receive one of these credits, you must meet certain income requirements. To learn more and discover if you are eligible, there is more information available here.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
If you paid someone to care for your dependent while at work or looking for work, you could get money back even if you owed no taxes. Up to $8,000 of what you paid for daycare, day camps, babysitting, adult day programs, or caregiving while you were working or looking for work can be claimed. To assess your eligibility, click here.
Medical and Dental Expenses Tax Deductions
If you spent more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) on medical or dental expenses that weren't paid back by your insurance, you can deduct that money from your taxable income and owe less on your taxes. You can count any money you spend on eligible expenses for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents so your total can add up quickly. There are no income restrictions for this program, and you can read more here to learn about eligible expenses.
Medicaid and Other State Programs
Currently, almost one million Alabamians are enrolled in Alabama Medicaid, an assistance program that provides health insurance and medical assistance to those who meet established income and health criteria. Some state-based support services require the patient to first be enrolled with Medicaid; however, other state programs exist independently of Medicaid and can be accessed separately or in addition to Medicaid assistance. Keep reading to discover which assistance programs might suit you and your family.
Alabama Elderly and Disabled Waiver and the State of Alabama Independent Living Medicaid (SAIL) Waiver
These waivers are intended to help elderly and/or disabled individuals remain at home rather than end up in long-term care. Services include care, respite, meal deliveries, and funding for care-related equipment. However, patients must require nursing-facility-level care and be Medicaid eligible. For more information on these waivers, click the links below:
Alabama Personal Choices Program (APCP)
This program, similar to the aforementioned waiver, can only be accessed by those who are Medicaid eligible. The Personal Choices program allows patients to select their own caregivers and includes a stipend for other care expenses. Read up on the Personal Choices program here.
Alabama CARES does not usually supply funding or wages, but their assistance can enhance the caregiver’s experience. They offer training, support groups, and respite for families caring for people with disabilities. Click here for access to their services.
Family and Medical Leave Insurance
The Alabama Family Leave Act provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid and job-protected leave per year. However, it doesn’t give the workers any paid leave or partial wages. Further information can be found here.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance policies can include the ability for patients to pay chosen family members to be their caregivers. However, not all long-term care insurance providers offer this option. To assess whether you qualify, you should contact insurance companies directly.
Veterans Benefits in Alabama
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a range of programs to assist elderly Veterans or those disabled in the line of duty. Often these programs allow Veterans to select and compensate caregivers of their choosing. Alabama also honors Veterans with its own benefits. Learn more about those here.
The Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance
The Aid and Attendance program provides funds in the form of a pension enhancement to qualifying Veterans in order to assist with improving their day to day lives. This pension is used at the discretion of the Veteran; however, it’s frequently used for caring services, which can be provided by family members. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also offers the related housebound allowance for qualified Veterans and their survivors. Read more about VA pensions here.
Veteran-Directed Care Program (VDC)
The Veteran-Directed Care Program is a self-directed program aimed to keep Veterans out of nursing institutions and in their own homes. The funding obtained through this program is based on the individual Veteran's need, but its aim is to enable Veterans to choose their own caregivers — which allows them to hire family members rather than professionals. More information about this program in Alabama may be found here.
Caregiving is fulfilling, but it can also be solitary and overwhelming. It's vital to know that assistance is available if you need it as well as a community of family caregivers who have had similar experiences to yours. In addition to helping you access the programs detailed above, Aidaly provides caregivers with tools, coaching opportunities, and a network of fellow carers who can help share the load. Sign up today.