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By Kristin Daugherty, Long-Term Care Planner

Are you a caregiver looking for community resources to assist you and your loved one with the cost of caregiving and home modifications? The Family Caregiver Support Program has been providing financial assistance to eligible older adults and their caregivers since 1990.

On December 22, 2011, PA House Bill 210 was signed by Governor Tom Corbett. Titled the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Act, this bill marks the first change to this program since its inception. This bill updates the definition of caregiver to be more reflective of current caregivers. For example, qualified beneficiaries of the act are no longer required to reside with the caregiver, and program funds can be used to pay non-relatives for caregiving.

The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Act provides up to $200 monthly reimbursement with the possibility of up to $500 to a caregiver of a functionally dependent individual, age 60 or over. This monthly reimbursement can be used for in-home respite, facility respite, transportation, and incontinence supplies, as well as for education and counseling for caregivers. Beneficiaries of the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Act may also be able to receive up to $2,000 to make home modifications, such as the installation of a stair glide, grab bars, and wheelchair ramp.

Prior to becoming a Long-Term Care Planner with Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak, I was a caseworker for STEP, Office of Aging. While serving in that capacity, I learned that the financial support from government funded programs, like the Family Caregiver Support Act, often means that the beneficiary of those programs can remain safely in his or her home. To learn more information about programs such as the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Act, please visit The Elder & Special Needs Resource Center provided by Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak