Over 53 million people in the United States currently provide unpaid care to a family member or loved one. Though many are happy to take on this role, it is clear that caregiving has a massive impact on family members. Many caregivers will spend their own money on medical supplies, appointments, and transportation for their loved ones, as well as their time and emotional energy.
According to studies, the average family caregiver in the United States spends more than a quarter of their income on caregiving and related expenses. Aidaly is passionate about ensuring that caregivers are recognized and compensated for the care they provide to family. Continue reading to learn about what benefits and programs you may be eligible for in Colorado.
Most people are taxpayers, so the government will often give 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.
Colorado caregivers may be eligible for several 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. You must meet certain income requirements to receive the credits. To learn more and discover if you are eligible, click 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 owe no taxes. You can claim 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. Eligibility criteria is available 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. Click here to see if your expenses meet the requirements.
Medicaid and Other State Programs
1.5 million Coloradans are enrolled in Health First Colorado — the state's version of Medicaid. Medicaid provides health insurance and medical assistance to those who meet the specified income and health criteria. To be eligible for some state-based support services, like in-home support services, your loved one must first be enrolled with Medicaid. In contrast, other state programs exist independently of Medicaid.
In-Home Support Services (IHSS)
IHSS allows elderly or disabled people to pay for services that allow them to remain in their own homes. To be eligible, you must be either 65 years of age or over, disabled, or blind. The program allows the patient to choose who they hire – and pay – to provide them with caregiving services.
Under IHSS, The Nurse Practice Act is waived, meaning approved family members can perform tasks that would normally be performed only by a licensed caregiver. To be eligible, the patient must be on Medicaid. Click here to assess your eligibility and learn how to apply for the program.
Personal Assistance Services of Colorado (PASCO)
PASCO is a Colorado-based program that provides services and resources for family caregivers, children, adults, and seniors. Under PASCO, the family member who is working as a caregiver must first train to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA. PASCO then hires the caregiver to provide paid care to their loved one. To learn more about the certification process, visit PASCO.
Family and Medical Leave Insurance
Colorado has recently established a Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, which provides employees with partial wage replacement for up to 16 weeks of leave. The majority of Colorado employees are eligible to take paid leave if they have earned $2,500 in wages within Colorado. To understand how the program works and assess whether you are eligible, click here.
The Colorado Respite Coalition (CRC)
The CRC provides resources for caregivers, with the goal of increasing access to services that will help improve the circumstances of caregivers and those they are assisting. The CRC offers a Family Respite Voucher Program, which provides funding to caregivers who are unable to access other resources.
This is a one-off payment designed to offer temporary relief to families. Depending on the availability of funds, the value of each voucher can range from $250 to $1,000. To learn more about what the CRC offers and to apply for a voucher, visit the CRC website.
Long-Term Care Insurance
If the patient you are caring for has long-term care insurance and meets the criteria and requirements for their policy, their insurance may allow them to pay family members to provide their care. Eligibility depends on the specific policy, so the patient's insurance provider must be contacted directly to assess eligibility. More information about long-term care insurance can be found here.
In the U.S., the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several programs which help Veterans, their surviving spouses, and their caregivers. The VA operates at the federal level, but resources vary from state to state. Read more about Colorado’s state-funded benefits here.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance
The Veterans Aid and Attendance and Housebound Allowance programs provide funding in the form of an increased monthly pension amount for eligible Veterans. The pension can assist in making day-to-day living easier or be used to pay for caregiving services, which can be provided by family members. The application process is lengthy, but the pension will be back-paid if approved. To assess eligibility and apply, click here.
Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)
With the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, you can earn a monthly stipend of up to $2,750 per month as a family caregiver to a Veteran who has a service-related disability or illness. In addition, you can access training and counseling programs to support your caregiving services. Check to see if you’re eligible here.
Veterans-Directed Home and Community Based Services
The Veteran Directed Care (VDC) program allows Veterans to be in control of their own long-term services and supports and is designed to enable them to continue living independently at home. Through the program, eligible Veterans determine their own budgets, decide what services they need, and hire their own workers — which can be family members. Be aware that not all counties in Colorado are part of this program, but you can assess eligibility and availability here.
Caregiving can be challenging, costly, and emotionally difficult, but knowing you are part of a community of caregivers can help ease that burden. Aidaly allows you to connect with other caregivers, share your story, and browse our library of helpful resources. Join Aidaly today and become part of a supportive community of family caregivers.