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Getting the Government to Pay Family Members For Eldercare at

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 By: Thomas Day

Some 44.4 million adult caregivers -- or 21% of the U.S. adult population -- provide unpaid care to seniors or adults with disabilities, according to a 2004 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving in Bethesda, Md. On average, those caregivers provide 21 hours of care a week and the average length of time spent providing care is 4.3 years.

Over the years, the National Care Planning Council has received many public requests. A number of these requests have been from family caregivers who had to cut back on their employment or even quit their jobs in order to take care of one or both of their parents. Invariably these caregivers assume there is a government program that will pay them to provide this care. Only recently have we become aware of some programs that will pay family members. These programs are not publicized and the public is largely unaware of them or how to receive them.

Money Follows the Person—MFP (Self-Direction in Care):

In recent years, some state Medicaid programs have been experimenting with the idea of providing a budget to elderly Medicaid recipients. This money can be used to hire family or friends to provide care at home. Most of these programs are very limited, and there are waiting lists for them. Also, the amount of money available may not always be enough to compensate a family member to provide full-time care in lieu of maintaining employment.

The attitude of our government is quickly changing and there is now a new initiative to provide income for family caregivers. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 allocated $1.4 billion -- the largest demonstration grant in Medicaid history -- to a program called "Money Follows the Person." This program is designed to transition individuals receiving Medicaid and who are living in institutions, back into the community. In 2007, 31 states received their portion of the grant money pie to begin demonstration programs offering more choice in care besides an institution. Most of these state programs offer a concept called "self-direction" which allows a budget to be established by Medicaid for the care recipient. Self-direction allows the care recipient to spend this money hiring any caregiver of choice and this typically includes friends and family.

Unfortunately, this is not a widespread benefit for elderly Medicaid recipients and in addition only applies to bringing elderly people out of institutions and back into the community to receive care. Over the next five years, only 34,395 elderly care recipients nationwide are expected to be transitioned to community-based care through this program. Even though this represents a fraction of the elderly, who over the next five years are expected to receive Medicaid services in institutions, there is still a possibility for the family to apply for one of these programs and to have the government pay for their care services.

See Page #2: Government to Pay Family

About the Author:  The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated members are dedicated to helping the American public recognize the need for long term care planning and to helping implement that planning. Planning for long term care is important. To learn about The National Care Planning Council and long term care visit our website at  http://longtermcarelink.net

Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com

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