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Posted November 3, 2009

Ask An Expert

Finances: Tips on Finding Sources of Caregiver Compensation

Q. I am a 53-year-old man who has moved back into my mother’s house to care for her.  I would like to know if there is any compensation available through the State of Wisconsin to help with my expenses in this matter.  I have been back for two years, and I am now looking for any programs that will help in this situation.  My days are pretty much filled with all the things I have to do on a regular basis, so any help or information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. 

John E., Wisconsin.

A.  Caregiver compensation is a hot topic and one that is difficult to address as programs and reimbursement models change frequently, depending on available funding and state-by-state rulings on this question. 

You don't mention whether your mother has long-term care insurance. In some rare situations, long-term care insurance may allow for some payment of services provided by family members. You may also wish to look into tax credits under federal and state law. You don't mention your mother's illness or condition, but it might be worth contacting the state or national chapter of any organization such as the American Cancer Society or Alzheimer's Association, as they often know of programs for financial assistance specifically available for the persons for whom they are advocating. 

As first steps, I'd suggest contacting the following groups and programs: 

Contact your local senior center as the staff will have current information on both local and state programs. 

Contact your Area Agency on Aging as they have information on regional programs, as well as tend to be very current on state-funded programs.  

Contact the Family Caregiver Support Network (FCSN), which is a free resource center  located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which also has local, regional, state and national family caregiver and elder care contacts for resources. You can contact FCSN at (414) 220-8600 or toll-free at (800) 449-4481. The group is advocating for resources to help family caregivers, and there may be services such as paid respite care that will give you needed time out of the home.

This answer is provided by Paula S. McCarron, a writer with more than 20 years of experience in healthcare, including nursing homes and hospice. Her writing includes extensive reporting on caregiver compensation issues. She lives in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and can be reached at paulamccarron@gmail.com.

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