Family Caregivers Program

caregiver support

The Department administers National Family Caregiver Support Program services to help families under certain circumstances, including those that care for frail older relatives and grandparents, or older relatives who serve as caregivers for minor children or children of any age who have disabilities.

Funds for the National Family Caregiver Support Program come from Title III-E of the federal Older Americans Act. Resources are allocated to Area Agencies on Aging, which contracts with local service providers to deliver a range of services.

These services include:

  • Assistance in gaining access to services

  • Individual counseling

  • Organization of support groups and caregiver training

  • Respite care

  • Supplemental services, including housing improvement, chores, provision of medical supplies and services

  • Legal assistance for caregivers, grandparents, or older individuals who are caregivers for relatives.

National Family Caregiver Support Program services are available to adult family members who provide in-home and community care for a person age 60 or older, or to grandparents and relatives age 55 or older who serve as caregivers for children 18 and younger, or for children of any age who have disabilities.


The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) provides non-emergency and non-expedited financial assistance to caregivers to pay for respite or supplemental services.  Monies may be paid directly to the caregiver or to the care recipient.  The funds can be used to hire providers for respite services or to reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses related to your role as a caregiver. Currently, assistance is limited to $300-$600 per person annually (from the date of processing). This assistance is subjected to the availability of funds.

Caregivers who can take advantage of these services are:

Caregivers who are providing care to someone age 60 or older.  The care recipient must require assistance with at least two activities of daily living (ADL’s).  A medical doctor or medical practitioner must verify the care recipient’s condition and indicate what ADL’s care recipient needs assistance with by completing the Medical Status Verification Form.  The caregiver, who is providing assistance to care, recipients, 60 or older, must be at least 18 years old.   The caregiver and the care recipient do not have to be blood relatives.

Grandparents or relative caregivers.  Grandparents or relative caregivers who are providing care to children that are 18 years old and younger, must be at least 55 years of age or older to take advantage of the NFCSP grant opportunity.  Caregivers of children 18 years of age or younger do not have to provide a completed medical verification form.

Caregivers providing care to a disabled person.   Caregivers must be at least 55 years of age providing care to a disabled individual aged 18 – 59.  A medical verification form is required and must be completed by a medical doctor or medical practitioner, indicating the care recipient's condition and ADL’s requiring assistance.

Geographic requirements:

The care recipient must be a Baltimore City resident
It is not required that the caregiver and the care recipient live in the same household.  The geographic distance between the caregiver and the care recipient cannot exceed a 60-mile radius.  If the caregiver and the care recipient do not live in the same household, a notarized letter must be provided stating the name of the primary caregiver.

How to apply:  Call NFCSP at 410-396-1337 to obtain your application package.  Complete the Family Caregiver Grant Request and submit copies of receipts, invoices, or bills to accompany your reason for the request.  The care recipient’s primary care physician must complete the Medical Status Verification Form.  The payee must complete a W-9 form before the request can be processed and the payment disbursed.  A copy of a Maryland State ID or a picture ID that verifies your age and a copy of your unaltered social security card must accompany all other requested paperwork, for both the caregiver and the care recipient.  Processing time may take 90 -180+ days. APPLICATION DOWNLOAD BOTTON 

Who Are The Caregivers?

"One of the biggest dilemmas for people in the field of caregiving and for grassroots organizations has been how to reach family caregivers. The majority of family caregivers don't self-identify. They don't know that they are caregivers." A 2001 survey was conducted on Caregiver Self-Identification by the National Family Caregivers Association, a grassroots advocacy organization for family caregivers of people with disabilities and older adults.

Most family members who help older people don't see themselves as caregivers. Yet a caregiver is anyone who helps an older person with household chores, errands, personal care, or finances. You are a caregiver if you do any of these things. You are a family caregiver if you help someone who cannot do or is limited from doing any of these things for him/herself.

  •  Drive an older family member to and from medical appointments
  •  Communicate with health care professionals
  •  Contact community service organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels, or the Alzheimer's Association
  •  Help arrange for home health care or hospice services
  •  Assist someone to pay bills
  •  Help someone clean his/her home or arrange for housecleaning
  •  Do home repairs or arrange for someone else to do so
  • Do yard work or hire someone else to do so

Caregivers have provided an estimated $5.2 billion in unreimbursed care to adults. In Maryland, there are over 770,000 people whose care for their aging spouse, relative, friend, or community member allows them to remain in their homes. Most of these caregivers are female. More than 66% of family caregivers work full-time and 23% are employed part-time, and 24% are retired. Soon these caregivers themselves will find themselves needing care as more than eight in ten are over 50 years old, and nearly a quarter are 65 and older. Many caregivers are asked to assist with basic activities of daily living, such as mobility, eating, and dressing, but many are expected to perform more complex tasks such as administering multiple medications, operating medical equipment, and providing wound care.

There are only four kinds of people in this world:
Those who have been caregivers;
those who currently are caregivers;
those who will be caregivers;
and those who will need caregivers.

-- Rosalynn Carter