In the United States, 53 million people are working as unpaid caregivers for a family member or loved one. Many people take on this role without any expectation of being compensated, but we know that caregiving work has a massive impact on family members — both financially and emotionally.
The money for medical supplies, appointments, and transportation generally comes from the caregivers' own pocket, with studies showing that the average family caregiver will spend 26% of their income on caregiving-related expenses. At Aidaly, we believe that caregivers deserve compensation and recognition for this vital work. Keep reading to learn about the benefits and programs you may qualify for in Connecticut.
Most people are taxpayers, so the government will often give 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.
Connecticut 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 a credit, you must meet certain income requirements. To learn more and discover if you are eligible for these tax credits, 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. You can read more here to see if your expenses meet the requirements.
Medicaid and Other State Programs
Over 963,000 people are enrolled with HUSKY Health, Connecticut’s Medicaid program, which provides health insurance and medical assistance to those who fall under specified income and health criteria. For your loved one to qualify for some state-based support services, such as a Medicaid Waiver, they must first be enrolled with Medicaid. In contrast, other state programs exist independently of Medicaid. Keep reading to see which state-based services may be available to you.
Medicaid Waivers are exceptions to Medicaid rules and allow Medicaid recipients to pay Medicaid funding directly to caregiving family members, rather than the usual Medicaid-approved agencies. In Connecticut, there are two main waivers that can be applied for and which can help patients pay family members. These are the Freedom of Choice Section 1915(b) Waiver and the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Section 1915(c) Waiver. Of course, to be eligible for these, the patient must be enrolled with Medicaid. Learn more about qualifying for these programs here.
National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)
The National Family Caregiver Support Program offers unpaid caregivers funding and assistance. This isn’t a wage-based program, rather the NFCSP can assist with offering respite so that caregivers can have a break from caregiving, access training opportunities, or obtain funds for specific items and services. However, the program has strict eligibility requirements. Further information about the program can be found here.
Family and Medical Leave Insurance
The Connecticut Family and Medical Leave (CT-FMLA) and Connecticut Paid Leave (CTPL) programs are designed to help eligible workers whose caregiving duties require them to take leave from their main source of income. Working in tandem, The Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act is the law that entitles employees to job-protected leave, whereas the Connecticut Paid Leave Act provides income replacement. Further information can be accessed here.
Long-Term Care Insurance
If the person you’re caring for has a long-term care insurance policy and meets the criteria under that policy, their insurance can allow them to pay chosen family members to provide their care. Eligibility for this depends on the specific policy and varies significantly from provider to provider, so the patient's insurance company must be contacted directly to assess if you qualify.
In the U.S. the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a range of programs to assist Veterans, their surviving spouses, and caregivers. The VA is available federally, but resources and programs do vary from state to state. Learn more about specific resources in Connecticut here.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance
Under the Veterans Aid and Attendance and Housebound Allowance programs, Veterans are provided with extra funding for their pension, which is intended to make the day-to-day living of the Veteran easier. How the bonus is spent is flexible and it can be put toward caregiving services, which can be provided by family members.
Veterans-Directed Care (VDC) Program
The VDC program is a self-directed program designed to keep Veterans in their communities and homes. Using funding received via the program, Veterans can design and direct how their care should look, including who’s hired as their caregiver. This enables them to hire family members as carers rather than professionals. Further information on this program in Connecticut can be accessed here.
Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)
With the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, you can earn a monthly stipend of up to $2,750 per month as a family caregiver to a Veteran who has a service-related disability or illness. In addition, you can access training and counseling programs to support your caregiving services. Check to see if you’re eligible here.
Caregiving is overwhelming, but it’s important to know that help is out there if you need it. As well as the financial assistance programs described above, Aidaly provides caregivers with resources and offers an opportunity to connect with a community of caregivers who understand what you’re going through. You can sign up here.