There are over 50 million Americans who provide unpaid care to family members. At Aidaly, we’re aware that people often become caregivers for their loved ones without expecting payment or recognition; however, it's important to know that programs are available at both the state and federal level that can make this journey easier.
Keep reading to discover which benefits and programs you may qualify for in Iowa.
Most people are taxpayers, so the government often gives financial assistance by helping out with taxes. But unless you know what you're entitled to or work with someone who does, you may miss out.
Iowa caregivers may be eligible for tax benefits that can save them 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 Credits: Federal and Iowa
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 on your federal tax return. To assess your eligibility, click here.
Iowa also helps families by offering 30-70% of the federal amount back to state taxpayers based on income. Learn more about Iowa’s Child and Dependent Tax Credit here.
Tax Deductions for Medical and Dental Expenses
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 750,000 Iowans are enrolled in Medicaid. Being enrolled with Iowa Medicaid can be a great option for accessing the financial assistance provided by Medicaid Waivers, which are only available to Medicaid members. Other state-based programs that operate independently of Medicaid are also available. Keep reading to determine which programs might suit your needs.
Medicaid Waivers allow eligible Medicaid participants to send funding directly to caregiving family members rather than to Medicaid-approved agencies, as is traditionally done. While spouses are excluded from being paid caregivers, other family members are eligible. In Iowa, available waivers include:
- Home and Community-Based Services Aged and Disabled Waiver
- Home and Community-Based Services Elderly Waiver
To learn more, visit Iowa Medicaid here.
Iowa Senior Living Program (ISLP)
The ISLP is a non-Medicaid program that allows elderly and/or disabled adults to receive care at home by enabling the care recipients to select their own caregivers. Additional services provided by the ISLP include adult day care, respite care, transportation, and other resources. Contact the Iowa Department on Aging here to learn more about what is available.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides support and financial assistance for eligible veterans. VA programs are intended to help preserve the beneficiaries’ independence and often allow Veterans to determine where and how funding is spent, meaning Veterans can use such funding to employ family members as caregivers so they can remain in their own homes rather than being placed in nursing homes or other care facilities.
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.
Veteran-Directed Care Program (VDC)
Veterans who require ongoing care can use the VDC program to employ family members to provide home health services. Generally, a caregiver employed through the VDC can earn between $8 and $21 per hour. Veterans in Iowa who are already eligible for community care, and who meet the clinical criteria for the service, are also eligible for this program. Learn more here.
Veteran Aid and Attendance Benefit (VAA)
The VA offers extra allowances to eligible Veterans to be spent at the discretion of the Veteran on the services they determine to be most necessary. These allowances can be used for a range of services, including care provided by family members. To find out more about the Veteran Aid and Attendance Benefit and the Housebound Allowance, click here.
At Aidaly, we’re well aware that caregiving can be a huge commitment for family members, and caregiving expenses often end up coming out of your own pocket. However, guidance and support are available to family caregivers if they know where to look. Joining Aidaly will connect you with a supportive community of fellow caregivers as well as provide you with guidance on accessing the benefits you’re entitled to.