I quit my job to care for my Mom, is there anyway to get federal help for expenses?

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My only income is SS which doesn’t cover the mortgage and car payment. Is there any financial help I can apply for to allow me to stay at home and care for my Mom?

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Federal help like Medicare or additional social security? No - Medicare does not pay family for caregiving/custodial care of family members at home. Social Security does not pay you directly for caregiving/custodial care at home. If your mother is competent and gets social security and pension income, she can pay you directly from her funds for caregiving using a caregiver contract with you reporting the income so that you can prove it wasn't a "gift" if she needs Medicaid later for nursing home care. There are examples of contract on this site and on-line.
If your mother is the widow of a veteran, she might qualify for VA Aid & Attendance. You can click on Veterans Benefits in the links at the bottom of this page. It's a long and complex process, and can take several months to get approved, but the VA pays back to date of application if approved. It's not huge amounts of money but it can help.
You can see if your mother qualifies for Medicaid, which is a jointly run state and federal program for indigent and low income persons. She cannot have more than approximately $2000 in assets in the bank, a house value below a certain amount which varies state by state, and income below a certain amount per month. Other than New York State, Medicaid does not pay for 24/7 care at home. In some states, a family member cannot get paid - you'll have to check. Many states (like mine Texas) have long waiting lists for the program to stay at home and pay a caregiver. You can see if Mom qualifies in your state by looking for Medicaid resources by state online or contacting your local Area Agency on Aging. If Care provided by Medicaid, states are required to seek repayment for money spent by state and federal funds by putting a lien on property owned by your mother to get repaid after her death with some exceptions for caregiving provided by family members - but you have to get doctor's certification in writing.
If your mother may need nursing home assistance and she's been helping you pay the mortgage and car payment from her funds and your mother's not the owner of the car and mortgage, it could be seen as gifting by Medicaid later. If the mortgage and car are in your mother's name and she later needs nursing home assistance, all of mother's income will be going to the nursing home and you won't have any help at all with mortgage and car payment after she goes into nursing home. With the best intentions to keep them at home until the end, some people eventually require a level of care that can only be provided in a nursing home so planning just in case is essential. It's worth checking with a lawyer to see what protections that you and your mother can get in place to prevent a big crisis later.
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Reply to Guestshopadmin
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pheidle, the vast majority of grown children who are caregivers to their parent do not get paid.... unless the parent can pay you from their own retirement account.

Now, another option is to see if your Mom can apply and be accepted by Medicaid [which is different from Medicare]. Some States do have a program where a grown child can get paid, but note the pay will not be full-time and usually at minimum wage.

I would hate to see you lose your home and car. If there is someway that Mom can go into a skilled nursing home as Medicaid will pay for her room, board, and care. But I do realize that isn't always an option that one wants to use.

I see from your profile that your Mom has mobility issues. Depending on how serious this is where you need to be with her 24 hours a day, could you carve out some time to work part-time?
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Reply to freqflyer
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