The commitment of Caregiving

It’s an act of love that’s often brought upon quickly, without warning. It’s emotionally, physically and financially stressful. Often it entails a years-long commitment. What is it? It’s caregiving.

The AARP Public Policy Institute stated that over a 12-month period more than 43 million adults provided care to a family member or friend. It is estimated that the annual cost of unpaid care for the elderly is $522 billion. But for all the efforts of these caregivers, most don’t identify themselves as caregivers.

Many families enlist the help of family members. There’s normally the older daughter that takes charge. She tries to solicit the help of siblings. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles that often prevent all from helping. There’s work, family commitments, being located out of state and the caregiver’s own health just to name a few obstacles.

Even as the Family and Medical Leave Act requires companies with 50 or more employees to allow up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for workers who are caring for a newborn or an ailing family member, the financial stress of the caregiver can be overwhelming.

But remember, Uncle Sam may offer a helping hand through tax deductions. Depending on your individual situation, some of these deductions may apply.

  • If you provide more than 50% of a relative’s support and he/she has a gross income (not counting tax-free Social Security benefits) of less than $4,000 in 2015, you can claim him/her as a dependent on your tax return.
  • You may include medical expenses paid for a dependent. You can deduct such expenses to the extent they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% if you or your spouse is 65 or older). See IRS Publication 502 for a list of eligible expenses.
  • If you pay someone to care for your relative while you work or look for work, you may be able to claim the child and dependent care credit on your federal tax return. You cannot claim a medical expenses deduction and a child and dependent tax credit for the same expense.
  • If you have a flexible benefit plan at work that allows you to use pretax income to cover medical or dependent care costs, you may consider reimbursement for qualified expenses from those accounts.
  • Remember, hiring someone to provide care in your home or the care recipient’s home could require that you pay Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes for the employee. This requirement generally does not apply if the paid caregiver is a family member or the employee of a company like Home by Choice.

Although Medicare does not pay for personal or homemaking care (Non-Medical), if you qualify for Medicaid – this state-run program does pay for personal, homemaker and adult day care services.

Long-term care insurance also pays for in-home care. You may have a waiting period for services up to 120 days, depending on your policy and a doctor more than likely will need to provide the insurance company with proof of need.

For veterans, there may be benefits also. Check with your local VA for details.

In addition, did you know that many life insurance policies can be converted to cover personal and homemaker services? Contact us, we can help.

Happy Holiday from your friends and neighbors at Home by Choice!

For more information on senior or homebound care, visit or call (765) 361-0600. Home by Choice has offices in Crawfordsville, Frankfort and Lafayette and is now serving Greencastle, Lebanon, Rockville and Covington.