Q. One topic that has surfaced in my world recently is having to hire someone to sit with my mother while I am at work. Is there any source of compensation for elder care like there is for child care apart from the temporary offerings which I have used?
A. In answer to your question about sitter care for your Mom there is really not any help at all. Our family looked into this extensively and we found out a few things.
Our parents needed 24/7 care and the expense was about $6K a month and the only thing we could do was to claim the expense for care (allowable by the IRS) on THEIR taxes under section 1 Medical and dental expenses on Schedule A. You are permitted to take off the cost of "medical care" but she has to exceed the 7% of her income and then you can take off what is over the 7%. However, all you will get back on the taxes is the amount of taxes that you paid. For example, one year we listed $74,980 on that line of for care and with all the other deductions the total was $75,906. The amount that was gotten back on the taxes was a refund of $3,171.00. Not much back. We had to pay the sitters and issue them a 1099 MISC - Miscellaneous Income form.
If you can claim your Mom as your dependent (there are a lot of legal issues with that and if she earns an income such as retirement/social security the limit is $3,200 a year to qualify) you can use the flexible spending dollars for dependent care, but you can only contribute $5K annually. It is tough to get a parent qualified under this plan.
If your Mom is a retired Veteran, you can try the aid and attendance help from the VA. This help is very tough to get. I couldn't get it for my bed ridden Dad, he earned too much money (over $18,000) and since he was on total feeding tube nourishments they said I couldn't anticipate his feeding needs so they excluded the $100K of nourishment costs. Anyway you can always try it takes months to get an answer and there is a HUGE amount of paperwork that you have to do and your Mom's doctor to do. Here is the link http://www.veteranaid.org/ These are the only financial help that we were able to find for in-home sitter care. Mostly you are on your own financially.
I did find one little thing that helped some. Our flexible spending dollars for healthcare can help you some. If you take the money out of your pay and put it into the flexible spending account you can be reimbursed for some of the incidentals that you use on your Mom under the "Over the Counter Healthcare Reimbursement." You can get your money back for things such as incontinence products, band aids, antibiotic cream, eye drops, cold medicines, analgesics, antacids, ear care products, etc (Aetna has a full list of items). I saved a bunch by saving the receipts for the incontinence products alone. This is at least one way to defer some of the cost associated with her care. I hope this helps and sorry there really isn't anything out there that helps with elder care it really is a shame.
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