Though you might sometimes feel like you’re alone, there are 53 million Americans working as unpaid caregivers today. Caregiving is a role many accept as part of their duty to their loved ones without expecting remuneration or recognition. At Aidaly, we know that caregiving work has a massive impact on family members — both financially and emotionally — and are striving to ensure caregivers receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
In general, caregivers spend over a quarter of their own income on providing care; however, many people are unaware that state and federal programs are available to assist with these costs. 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 your state.
Most people are taxpayers, so the government often gives 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.
Alaska 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 these credits, you must meet certain income requirements. To learn more and discover if you are eligible for one of 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 what expenses qualify.
Medicaid and Other State Programs
Currently, 250,000 Alaskans are covered by Medicaid, an assistance program that provides health insurance and medical assistance to those who meet certain income and health criteria. If your loved one wishes to receive specific state-based support services, such as a Medicaid Waiver, they must first be enrolled with Medicaid. However, other state programs exist independently of Medicaid and can be accessed separately or in addition to Medicaid assistance. Keep reading to see which state-based services may be available to you.
Alaska Medicaid Personal Care Services Program
The Alaska Medicaid Personal Care Services Program helps elderly and disabled adults who need assistance with the fundamental aspects of day-to-day living. The program enables the patients to select what kind of care they need and empowers them to choose and train their caregivers. Though spouses are not eligible for this assistance, other family members are accepted. Access more information by clicking here.
Alaskans Living Independently (ALI) Medicaid Waiver
The Alaskans Living Independently Medicaid Waiver assists elderly or disabled people to remain at home rather than be in a nursing home. As mentioned above, spouses are not eligible under this waiver system. Further information about the waiver and eligibility can be accessed here.
Alaska Department of Senior and Disability Services (ADSD)
Though the Alaska Department of Senior and Disability Services doesn’t provide wages or funding for caregivers, they can offer respite for caregivers, allowing family members to take a break from their caregiving role. The department also provides resources, training, and support groups. Click here to find out what the ADSD has to offer.
Family and Medical Leave Insurance
The Alaska Family Leave Act provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. However, it doesn’t provide workers with partial wages like other leave insurance schemes. Further information can be found here.
Long-Term Care Insurance
If the person you are caring for has a long-term care insurance policy, their insurance may allow them to pay chosen family members to be their caregivers. Not all insurance providers offer this option, so eligibility must be established by contacting insurance companies directly.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides several federal programs geared toward assisting and empowering disabled or elderly Veterans, which can involve Veterans selecting and paying their own caregivers. Each state can also offer its own, unique benefits for Veterans. Learn more about some of Alaska’s benefits here.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance
Under the Veterans Pension program, eligible Veterans are provided with increased pension amounts intended to make their day-to-day living easier. How this pension is spent is at the discretion of the Veteran, but it’s often put toward caregiving services (which can be provided by family members). Learn more about who qualifies for Aid and Attendance and the Housebound Allowance here.
Veteran Directed Care (VDC) Program
The VDC program is a self-directed program designed to keep Veterans out of nursing homes and in their own homes. Funding acquired through this program is distributed according to the individual Veteran’s need; however, it allows patients to select caregivers of their choosing, enabling them to hire family members rather than professionals. Further information on this program in Alaska can be accessed here.
Though the personal rewards are many, caregiving can also be isolating and overwhelming. It’s important to know that help is out there if you need it — and a whole community of caregivers with similar experiences to yours is available. As well as assisting with accessing the financial programs described above, Aidaly provides access to resources, coaching, and a community of fellow caregivers who can help share your burden. Get started today.