Did you know that the average age1 of spousal caregivers is 62? Caring for a disabled spouse can be a difficult and draining task.
Sure, it’s rewarding to know that you're doing everything possible to improve your loved one's quality of life. But the demands on your own time and resources are immense when caring for your spouse.
On top of this, there's no way to get compensated for your caregiving services.
But what if it was possible? What if there was a way to get paid while caring for your disabled spouse?
Keep reading to learn more about financial stability while providing compassionate care no matter your circumstances. And most importantly, we’ll explore how to get paid for taking care of a disabled spouse.
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The physical demands of providing care can take a toll on your body. Caretakers might experience fatigue from staying up late at night to provide help or exhaustion from how intense and non-stop the caregiving process can be.
The emotional effects of long-term care can become taxing. Providing long-term care to a disabled family member who needs extra attention can lead to burnout and often comes with guilt, sadness, anxiety, and even depression.
The emotional burnout of 24/7 care can be even more devastating than physical fatigue.
When providing long-term care for a disabled family member, you may feel overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and experience guilt for not being able to do more for them. You may feel sadness from how their condition affects them or anxiety from the constant worry about how they're doing.
Finally, the financial strain from caring for a disabled spouse is another challenge that should not be overlooked. There is the cost of medical treatments and equipment needed to provide care and the cost of paying for extra help.
The financial strain of 24/7 care is one of the caretakers' biggest challenges. Not only do they often have to bear the financial burden of providing care, but they also have to figure out how to pay for the following:
If you have a job, the time lost from caring for your disabled spouse can affect how much work you get done, how often you're able to work, and how much pay you get.
With medical treatments, equipment, and other expenses that come with caregiving, it's important to know what all your options are when it comes to getting compensation.
You may wonder how you can get compensated for the time and effort spent caring for a disabled family member.
The answer is simple. Look for programs that can help you pay for things, insurance that can help you if you cannot work, and other money that can help you if you have a disability.
Here are a few options you can explore:
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is a government-funded, federally-run insurance program that provides financial help to disabled individuals and their caregivers.
To get SSDI benefits, the person you care for must have an income below a certain amount. They must also have worked for at least five years in the past ten years.
If your spouse meets these requirements, you could get paid up to $2,788 per month in SSDI benefits as their caregiver. You can learn more about spousal benefits and how to apply for them here.
The SSI program provides financial support to older disabled people and helps alleviate the burden of caregiving on family members.
In order to qualify for this program, the disabled person must be at least 65 years old, have a limited income and minimal assets, be partially or totally blind or suffer from a disabling medical condition.
This money received is intended to help with expenses and care costs for the disabled family member.
Medicaid is a government-funded program that provides financial assistance to individuals with low incomes who have disabilities. It is an important resource for those taking care of a disabled family member, as it can provide coverage for medical expenses and long-term care services to the caregiver.
If the person you care for is eligible for Medicaid, you may qualify for in-home help such as nursing care, physical therapy, and specialized medical equipment. These are just a few options available to a disabled spouse. By exploring these programs and services, you can get the financial support you need to provide care for your loved one.
If you have a disabled veteran spouse, you may be able to get financial help from the government.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has many different services and benefits that can help people who take care of veterans who served in the military. These services and benefits can help with the difficult things about being a caregiver.
The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program is a benefit that gives up to $1,704 per month to spouses of military service members who died from an injury or illness while the service member was working.
There are also state programs and benefits that can help you financially if you take care of a disabled spouse.. One such program is California's In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.
The IHSS program is a program that helps people with disabilities who need help taking care of themselves at home. Caregivers can receive up to $1,056 per month through this program to help defray the costs of caring for their disabled family member.
The IHSS program provides caregivers of disabled spouses with a number of benefits, including:
Recipients of the IHSS program must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for its services and assistance.
Long-term care insurance is a policy that will provide money to the policy owner if they are unable to do two of the six daily living activities. Long-term care insurance can cover:
With long-term care insurance in place, caregivers of disabled family members will not be financially burdened with high costs that can come with caregiving.
Some policies do not place a limitation on how the benefit received is used and can help serve as supplemental income for the caregiver.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are another option for caregivers of disabled spouses to receive financial support. EAPs are programs that your employer pays for that can help employees and their families with things like counseling and legal advice. They can be a valuable resource for those caring for someone with a disability.
Employee Assistance Programs can help reduce stress associated with caregiving by providing emotional support and resources for those taking care of a family member with disabilities. EAPs can also help pay for medical expenses or long-term care services that a disabled spouse may need.
These programs provide peace of mind knowing that employers can provide additional support if needed. If you have any problems or questions, you can ask your employer for help.
EAPs may be able to provide financial relief in the form of grants or low-interest loans. Check with your employer to see if they offer an EAP and how you can access it.
Long-term disability insurance can be an important source of financial support for caregivers taking care of a disabled spouse. It is meant to replace the income lost if you are unable to work due to a serious illness or injury. Policies will vary but typically the policy will cover up to 70% of your income. The benefit period for long-term disability is usually in 5, 10, 20 years or in some cases, until you retire. To qualify for benefits, you must prove you are incapable of doing any job at all, not just your own.
This type of cover helps to cover the expenses relating to the disability, without many limitations, to alleviate the financial burden your caregiver may face.
Short-term disability insurance provides financial assistance for a specific period of time, usually up to six months. It is designed to help with income replacement when you may be temporarily unable to work due to medical conditions including, pregnancy, surgery rehabilitation, or severe illness. It's easier to qualify for short-term disability because benefits are awarded if you are unable to do your job vs. the ability to do any job at all.
Short-term disability benefits can provide much-needed financial assistance to caregivers of disabled spouses so they can spend time focusing on giving care without having to worry about how to pay the bills.
One of the most important resources is caregiver support services. These services provide essential assistance to people caring for an ill or disabled family member.
Caregivers need support to help them manage the physical, emotional, and financial burden of caring for a disabled spouse. Caregiver support services provide essential assistance such as respite care, counseling, education on managing their loved one’s condition, and access to resources that can help with finances.
The benefits of accessing caregiver support services include:
Caregiver support services can include counseling, referrals to resources and programs, and other forms of assistance. Look into the options available in your area to get help with managing the financial and emotional burdens of being a caregiver.
Caring for a disabled spouse can be an overwhelming financial and emotional responsibility. Having a network of support is essential for caregivers of disabled family members. Building a supportive network can offer assistance during difficult times and provide emotional and practical support when caring for a loved one.
Having a strong community to rely on can make all the difference when taking care of a disabled spouse. Find resources, organizations, and support groups in your area to build a strong support network.
You can find support groups online or at your local senior center. Some groups may even offer financial help or resources to help pay for caregiving expenses.
Now that you know the different options available to help you get compensation for taking care of a disabled spouse, it’s time to think about what solution might be best for you and your family to help manage the costs of caregiving.
It’s also important to consider how best to utilize your resources, build a support network, and access caregiver support services that can provide essential relief when you need it the most.
With these tools in hand, we hope you will be better prepared to handle the financial and emotional challenges you may be facing while taking care of your loved-one.
If you want to prepare ahead to protect against future care costs for yourself, its always a good idea to look at long-term care protection plans like life insurance solutions that include built-in living benefit features. This type of policy is an affordable way to give you access to money for long-term care if you need it.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Everdays encourages individuals to seek advice from their own investment or tax advisor or legal counsel.