Good Life

Helping hands: Family Caregiver Support Program offers financial assistance

Are you caring for a loved one at home? If your care receiver is 60 or older (or 55 and up with a diagnosis of dementia), the Family Caregiver Support Program may be able to offer monthly financial assistance. FCSP is a reimbursement program available to households with income up to 380 percent of poverty level, with reimbursement provided on a sliding scale. Funds may be used for the following:

▪ Ongoing support such as a break from caregiving, education and counseling

▪ Reimbursement for supplies used to care for your loved one(s)

The FCSP program has the ability to adapt to your changing reimbursement needs. A good example of this is a husband caring for his wife. While he was still working, he used the reimbursement toward aid services. After retirement, he no longer needed the services and applied the reimbursement for the incontinent supplies he was purchasing. This is a perfect example of how the program can be shaped to meet your changing needs.

Funding for FCSP is provided through a Pennsylvania state program and a federal funding source, and your household may qualify for one or both programs. For instance, if your loved one needs assistance with one activity of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, transferring, toileting, or bowel and bladder management), the caregiver could be eligible for up to $200 per month of reimbursement through the Pennsylvania FCSP. If a care receiver needs assistance with more than one activity of daily living, the caregiver would have dual eligibility for both state and federal funds, and may be reimbursed up to $300 per month.

In addition to services and supplies, care givers may receive a one-time only reimbursement of up to $2,000 for any reasonable modification to the structure of your home, such as grab bars, widening doorways, non-portable ramp and bathroom modifications. This one-time-only reimbursement may also be applied to assistive devices including adaptive bedding, adaptive clothing, air conditioners, bath assistance equipment, hospital beds, lift chairs, wheelchairs, elevated toilet seats, etc.

Caring for a family member through an extended illness can be rewarding, but it can also be taxing. The Office of Aging can offer support and access to services for qualifying individuals.

If you are interested in learning more about the FCSP or other aging services available in Centre County, please contact Centre County Office of Aging at 355-6716 or visit www.centrecountypa.gov.

Quentin Burchfield is the casework supervisor at Centre County Office of Aging. He can be reached at qsburchfield@centrecountypa.gov.

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