Locating and Paying for Respite Care Services
by Jill Kagan, Respite Care Expert
November 08, 2012
Question: How do I find and pay for respite services?
Answer: The first place to look for respite providers or programs is your State Lifespan Respite Program or State Respite Coalition. If your state does not have these resources, the ARCH National Respite Locator Service (NRLS) can provide you a list of respite programs in your geographic area. You can search the NRLS by the age and condition of the person you are providing care for as well as by zip code.
A range of possible state and federal funding sources may be available to help you pay for respite. Your State Lifespan Respite Program or State Respite Coalition should be able to link you to existing funding sources or assist with possible funding sources that may be unique to your state. For state-by-state information on funding sources including state-specific Medicaid waiver funding or other available funding possibilities, visit the NRLS and click on your state for program eligibility and funding information.
A few funding possibilities:
Medicaid Waivers: Generally, every state offers some respite assistance though various Medicaid Waivers. Each state’s eligibility criteria and funding for waivers is different and you should check with your state’s Medicaid office. To find out which waivers are available in your state and information about eligibility, visit the ARCH National Respite Locator and click on the map.
Medicare Hospice Benefit: If someone you love is in hospice, their caregivers are eligible for respite funding under Medicare.
National Family Caregiver Support Program: Funding may also be available if you are caring for someone over the age of 60, someone of any age with Alzheimer’s, if you are a grandparent age 55 or older caring for a grandchild, or the relative of an adult with certain disabilities, through the National Family Caregiver Support Program which is administered through your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Visit the Elder Care locator service to contact your AAA about respite funding options.
State Family Caregiver Support Programs: If your state has a state-funded family caregiver support program, you may have respite funding available. For more information, visit the Family Caregiver Alliance Family Care Navigator Program.
Veterans: Veterans eligible for outpatient medical services can also receive non-institutional respite, outpatient geriatric evaluation and management services, and therapeutically-oriented outpatient day care. Respite care may be provided in a home or other non-institutional setting, such as a community nursing home. Ordinarily, respite is limited to no more than 30 days per year. The services can be contracted or provided directly by the staff of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) or by another provider or payor. A new program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Family Caregiver Program of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, will provide additional support to eligible post-9/11 Veterans who elect to receive their care in a home setting from a primary family caregiver. For more information, visit the VA Caregiver Support Program or call the VA Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274.
Military Families Military families should also look to TRICARE's Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) or the Military Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), which offers respite care to anyone in the military who is enrolled in the EFMP and meets the criteria.
Funding for Adult Day Care: Medicare does not cover day care costs, but Medicaid can pay all the costs in a licensed day care center with a medical model or an Alzheimer’s environment if the senior qualifies financially. Some day care centers offer need-based scholarships. Others may use a sliding fee scale based on income. Private medical insurance policies sometimes cover a portion of day care costs when registered, licensed medical personnel are involved in the care. Long-term care insurance may also pay for adult day services, depending upon the policy. Dependent care tax credits may be available to the caregiver as well.
This list is by no means exhaustive. For a general fact sheet on additional possible federal respite funding sources, see Building Blocks for Lifespan Respite: Federal Funding for Adult’s and Children’s Respite or the more comprehensive Federal Funding and Support Opportunities for Respite. For state-specific information on respite funding and eligibility, visit the ARCH National Respite Locator search pages. At the bottom of each state search page is a list of possible state funding sources.
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Jill Kagan, MPH, is the Director of the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center and Chair of its policy division, the National Respite Coalition. ARCH has been a leader in the areas of respite research and evaluation, training, advocacy, and consumer issues for more than twenty years.
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