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The Caregiving Journey: Which Programs and Services Are Right for Your Loved One?

If you are just starting out on the path of being a family caregiver, you probably have a lot of questions about which benefits your loved one is eligible for. Fortunately, there are a number of websites that can make finding local resources and financial support easier.

A good starting place is Benefits.gov and BenefitsCheckUp. Both sites require you to answer a series of questions about your loved one, such as financial status and health history, and based on the answers to these questions, you are directed to a number of government programs and services your loved one may be qualified to receive. It also pays to visit the Medicare and Social Security websites to make sure you are maximizing the savings available for things like prescription drugs and to check eligibility for supplemental security income.

The HIPPAA privacy rule could pose a problem if you wish to speak to your loved one’s healthcare providers on their behalf. Their physician(s) are prohibited from discussing their medical conditions with you unless your loved one gives them permission or it is deemed in their best interest. To help understand the protections, and potential roadblocks, of HIPPAA visit their website.

Other helpful resources (depending on eligibility) are the Department of Veterans Affairs, for veterans, dependents and survivors, and the U.S. Department of Justice, for those with disabilities. The Administration for Community Living oversees the Administration on Aging program, which provides critical support services to the elderly with the goal of keeping aging adults independent and involved in their communities. Federally-mandated Area Agencies on Aging are a great source of local support. Visit the Trident Area Agency on Aging’s website for specific programs and services in the Charleston area.

With a little legwork, you can capitalize on the many great services and programs available to help you better help your loved one (and save money too)!