Caregiver Support Program
Clients are Caregivers
Caring for a dependent individual in the home can be a formidable, stressful and sometimes costly experience. Unfortunately, many caregivers simply don't know what help is available or where to turn to obtain that help. In fact, studies indicate that more than 50% of families caring for individuals at home do not use the services available to them in the communities.
The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program is intended to reinforce, not replace, the care being provided to the impaired individual at home.
Respite is one of the supports offered through the State's Caregiver Support Program. Individuals eligible for respite are:
- Caregivers providing care for individuals age 60 or older
- Caregivers providing care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, regardless of age
- Grandparents and other relative caregivers (not parents) 55 years of age and older providing care to children under age 18
Grandparents, parents and other relative caregivers 55 years of age and older providing care to adults ages 18-59 with disabilities to whom they are related by blood, marriage or adoption.
Requirements of Assessment
Eligibility for Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program is based on your income and functional needs. There must be an identified primary caregiver for the care receiver. Contact the Area Agency on Aging for additional information on eligibility and to apply for the program.
How the Program Works
The Area Agencies on Aging assign staff professionals to assess the needs of families/friends taking care of dependent individuals and counsel them as to the benefits and services available through local, state and federal programs. Families are assisted in filling out necessary forms and applications to access available benefits and services. An important feature of the Caregiver Support Program is that it allows the caregiver to choose the service most needed to help care for the individual at home.
Depending on their annual income, caregivers may receive up to $200 a month to help purchase services such as respite care, adult day care, or to purchase care-giving supplies such as disposable briefs or medical equipment and supplies not covered by third party payers.
In addition, eligible caregivers may receive a one time fund of up to $2000 to help pay for home adaptations and devices that ease care-giving tasks and increase the functional independence of the impaired person. Examples include wheelchair ramps, bathroom modifications, stair climbs and other such aids.
Cost-Shared Expenses: A Unique Feature
The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program is the first Pennsylvania Department of Aging-administered program to provide financial assistance with essential purchases. In addition to the basic services offered at no cost to families, financial assistance is available on a cost-sharing basis to help families with out-of-pocket care-giving expenses. Amounts are determined by actual expenses and household income. Established income guidelines are above poverty level to enable more middle-income families to participate.
Benefits and Services for Caregivers
- Assessments of caregiver and care recipient needs
- Counseling in coping skills
- Respite care
- Training in care-giving skills
- Financial assistance to purchase supplies or services
- One-time fund for home adaptations
- Benefits counseling on services available through local, state and federal programs
- Referrals to other programs and organizations able to help support caregivers
- Assistance in completing benefits and insurance forms