Financial Planning for Caregivers
As a caregiver, you will need to evaluate the long-term care needs of your loved one. In making this evaluation, it is important to consider financial options. Long-term financial planning is important for everyone, but it is essential when you are coping with the expense of chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.
Developing a Financial Plan
For the security of the caregiver and the patient, long-term financial planning is very important for all parties involved. Planning ahead is essential.Long-term financial planning is very important for the security of the caregiver and the patient. If you wish to handle your loved one's finances, you must receive written authorization to do so. This authorization can be obtained through documents such as a power of attorney. When considering a financial plan, you may contact professional financial managers and/or medical lawyers who deal with financial planning for people facing chronic or progressive illnesses. You also may want to talk to a social worker and investigate other resources, such as those available on the Internet. Ask your loved one's doctor for a referral, or speak with a national association or support group to find reputable professionals in your region.
Understanding Medical Coverage
- If your loved one is insured, either through his or her employer or retirement policy, read all of the policies pertaining to chronic/progressive illnesses. If you are unsure about the language or terms, contact the personnel department or your financial planner.
- If your loved one is unemployed and does not have coverage, look for the highest level of affordable coverage.
- If your loved one is 65 or over, he or she qualifies for Medicare. This insurance can be supplemented with a "Medigap" policy available through a private insurer. Many states also have prescription assistance/reimbursement programs for low-income senior citizens.
- If your loved one is disabled but does not qualify for Social Security, he or she may be eligible to receive a form of Medicare for the disabled.
- If your loved one cannot get insurance and his or her income is low, he or she may qualify for Medicaid, a government "safety net" program that pays for medical costs that exceed a person's ability to pay.
Investigating Long- and Short-Term Disability Insurance
If your loved one is employed, have him check to see if his employer has private disability insurance. He or she should contact his employer's human resources to investigate eligibility, the cost of enrolling, and how much of his/her salary it will cover.
If your loved one is not working, he or she may want to apply for Social Security. If they do not qualify for Social Security, state-run disability programs may be considered.
If their total income is below a certain level, he or she may qualify for federally subsidized Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If an individual collects SSI, he or she is a candidate for Medicaid regardless of age.
Medicare and Medicaid