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Caregiver Support Program

The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program provides resources and assistance to individuals who assume the primary responsibility for the provision of care to encourage a healthy, ongoing relationship with their care receiver. The program aims to alleviate the stresses associated with caregiving by focusing on the well-being of the caregiver, providing access to respite care, addressing the need for formal and informal supports, and providing financial reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs associated with caregiving-related services and supplies. 

The program is administered by your local Area Agency on Aging. Each caregiver is assigned a care manager who will come to the care receivers' home, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the caregiver, provide support, and work with them to develop a person-centered plan of care.

Eligibility

Both the caregiver and care receiver must be a resident of Pennsylvania. The caregiver must be an adult who is primarily responsible for providing care on a regular basis, and meet one of the following eligibility categories:

Category 1
Caregiver is:
  • An individual age 18 and older
Care Receiver is:
  • An individual age 60 and older with functional deficits or
  • An individual of any age with Alzheimer's or related disorder
*In this category the caregiver and care receiver are not required to be related or live in the same residence
Category 2
Caregiver is:
  • An individual age 55 and older
  • Not the biological parent of the child(ren)
  • Related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Has legal guardianship, or is raising the child(ren) informally
Care Receiver is:
  • A dependent child under age 18
*In this category the caregiver and care receiver must live in the same residence
Category 3
Caregiver is:
  • An individual age 55 and older
  • Related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Can be the biological parent
Care Receiver is:
  • An individual age 18-59 with a disability 
*In this category the caregiver and care receiver must live in the same residence

Financial Eligibility

There is no financial eligibility requirement for the Caregiver Support Program. However, the amount of reimbursement is based on the total gross income and household size of the care receiver. The percentage of reimbursement is determined using a sliding scale based on the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines and covers care receiver household income up to 380% of the FPL. 

    • Those whose income is 200% or below the FPL receive 100% reimbursement. 
    • Those whose income is just under 380% of the FPL receive 10% reimbursement. 
    • Those whose income falls between 200% and 380% receive a percentage within that range. 
    • Those whose income is over 380% of the FPL receive no financial reimbursement but can receive Care Management and other non-reimbursable services such as caregiver education and caregiver education and training.

Individuals are not eligible for the Caregiver Support Program if:

    • The caregiver or care receiver are enrolled in Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports (Community HealthChoices/ LIFE)
    • The caregiver has been convicted of or found liable for a crime relating to abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment
    • The caregiver is a perpetrator in a substantiated report of need for older adults protective services

Available Services

Services available through the Caregiver Support Program include: 

    • Care Management
    • Benefits Counseling
    • Caregiver Education and Training
    • Reimbursement for ongoing expenses for caregiving-related services or supplies, such as:
        • Respite Care
        • Consumable Supplies
        • Supportive Services
        • Supplemental Services
        • Home Modifications
        • Assistive Devices
        • Services specific to grandparents/older relative caregivers (55+)

How to Apply

For more information on or to apply for the Caregiver Support Program use the Area Agency on Aging Locator to find the AAA serving your local county.

What's New

Caregiver Support Act (amended June 11, 2021)

Act 20 of 2021 was signed into law by Governor Wolf on June 11, 2021. This new law removes barriers to utilizing the program and provides more flexibility to serve caregivers most in need.

Most notably for consumers, the new law removes the prior limitations on the maximum monthly amount available to a qualified primary caregiver for out-of-pocket expenses incurred for services, and the lifetime reimbursement amount for Home Modifications and Assistive Devices. Act 20 grants the PA Department of Aging (PDA) the authority to determine those amounts.

Effective August 10, 2021, the following maximum reimbursement amounts have increased:

    1. The maximum monthly reimbursement amount (based on the caregiver's calculated reimbursement percentage) will increase to $600.
    2. The maximum lifetime reimbursement amount (based on the caregiver's calculated reimbursement percentage) for Home Modifications or Assistive Devices will increase to $5,000.

Older Americans Act of 1965 (amended March 25, 2020)

As part of the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 2020, the requirement to limit funding and spending on grandparents/older relative caregivers (55+) to 10% of the overall funding allocation was eliminated.

This change, along with the passage of Act 20 that allows for the use of both federal and state funds to serve grandparents/older relative caregivers, will allow PDA's Caregiver Support Program to better serve these primary caregivers caring for relative children and adult children with disabilities. 

Additional Resources