In the U.S., millions of people work as unpaid caregivers for a family member or loved one — 53 million, to be precise. Though these duties are often performed without any expectation of compensation, it’s no secret that caregiving work comes with financial and emotional costs. Money for medical supplies, appointments, and transportation has to come from somewhere. Generally, this “somewhere” ends up being the caregiver’s own pocket, despite federal and state assistance programs available that can help.
Recent studies show that the average family caregiver spends more than a quarter of their income on caregiving-related expenses. At Aidaly, we believe that caregivers deserve compensation and recognition for their vital work, and we’re passionate about helping people access services that can have lengthy or convoluted application processes. Keep reading to learn about the benefits and programs you may qualify for in Arkansas.
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.
Arkansas 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 a credit, you must meet certain income requirements. To learn more and discover if you are eligible for these tax credits, more information is 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 learn about eligible expenses.
Medicaid and Other State Programs
Around 970,000 people are enrolled with Medicaid Arkansas which provides health insurance and medical assistance to people who meet specified income and health criteria. To qualify for some state-based support services, your loved one needs to be enrolled with Arkansas Medicaid. However, other programs exist independently of Medicaid and can be applied for separately. Below, we list which state-based services may be available to you and your loved ones.
Arkansas Independent Choices
Arkansas Independent Choices is a program offered through Medicaid that allows elderly and disabled adults who cannot live independently to remain at home. Family members (excluding spouses) are able to be compensated for the services they provide. In addition, the costs of certain medical and accessibility equipment can be covered. Further information on eligibility and services is available here.
Arkansas Lifespan Respite Voucher Program
The purpose of this support program is to distribute services to family caregivers via small grants. This program doesn’t offer regular wages for carers. Rather it provides respite so that caregivers may be relieved from their duties and allowed a break. More information can be accessed by clicking here.
Family and Medical Leave
Arkansas Family and Medical Leave guarantees that eligible workers whose caregiving duties require them to take leave from their primary source of income can have 12 weeks of leave from their job. However, in Arkansas, this leave is entirely unpaid. Employers should be contacted directly if you’re considering taking this leave.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Some long-term care insurance policies allow the patient to pay chosen family members to provide their care. Eligibility depends on the specific policy and differs from provider to provider. In order to assess if this applies to your situation, the patient's insurance company must be contacted directly.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a range of care-based programs to assist elderly or disabled Veterans. The VA is federal, but Arkansas also offers services for Veterans here.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Program
Under the Veterans Aid and Attendance program, a pension enhancement is provided to eligible Veterans to make their day-to-day lives more manageable. How this pension is spent is flexible and many Veterans use it to fund their care, which family members can provide.
Veteran-Directed Care (VDC) Program
The VDC program is also a self-directed program designed to keep Veterans in their homes rather than having them live in nursing facilities. Veterans can design and direct how their care should look and distribute their funds accordingly, meaning they can choose to employ family members as carers rather than professionals. More information on this program can be accessed here.
Caregiving can be costly, but there is some assistance available to family caregivers. In addition to helping caregivers access the financial aid outlined above, Aidaly provides resources, coaching, and a community of caregivers who understand what you’re going through. Click here to sign up.