My mother in law has chronic illness and requires a significant amount of help. is there government financial assistance for family members that step in to do this work?

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Montgomery, wouldn't it be nice if everyone who is home caring for their parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/spouse/sibling/child could get paid for the time they put in.... but that alone would bankrupt the States and the Federal government within months. Thus, most family caregivers do it for free unless the relative they are helping can pay from their own pocket. This is when "rainy day funds" are to be used.
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Monty - your ? Is the most frequent question on this site. I'd suggest you look through the multitude of prior posts and answers to get some insight.

But long story short: most caregiving in US is provided by family & for free.

MIL has an income - SS, perhaps a retirement - and perhaps also has assets. Those need to be used to pay for their needs and their caregivers. Your mil can pay you & you really need to do this via a legally drawn up document to provide personal services & pay taxes on this income to you. Some states - CA- have existing IHHS (in home health service) for those that qualify that will pay a family member to provide caregiving base on needs; the wage on this varies & seems to be around $ 10/12 hr with 20 hrs weekly. It is not a full time job or a living wage & is fully reportable income. The current trend are PACE systems as the community model for caregiving....if PACE or other organized community health senior system is established in yiur area, MIL may need to see is those can provide for some of her needs first & foremost before one on one in home can be done.

If you are thinking that there will be some sort of govt. program that will match current salary & benefits to caregive for family, that flat isn't going to happen.
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