Family Caregivers Program
Background on the National Family Caregiver Support Program
The enactment of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000 (public Law 106-501) established an important new program, the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). The program calls for all states, working in partnership with area agencies on aging and local community-service providers to have five basic services for family caregivers. These services include:
- Information to caregivers about available services
- Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to services
- Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training to caregivers in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiving roles
- Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to complement the care provided by caregivers
- Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities
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 per person annually (from date of processing). This assistance is subjected to availability of funds.
The categories of 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 the care recipient needs assistance with by completing the Medical Status Verification Form. The caregiver, who are 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.
Grandparent 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 age 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.
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 paper work, for both the caregiver and the care recipient. Processing time may take 90 -180+ days. Download Caregiver Application
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 grass roots 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